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We're pleased to welcome Kao Kalia Yang to our At Home with Literati series of virtual events in support of Somewhere in the Unknown World. She'll be in conversation with Amanda Uhle, Execuitve Director and Publisher of McSweeney's.
Note: we are now hosting on Zoom webinars. You will be prompted to enter a first name and email upon joining. You may then see a window reading "waiting for host to start webinar," but sit tight--you will be admitted as soon as we begin broadcasting live! You will be able to submit questions using the Q&A feature.
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About the book: From "an exceptional storyteller," Somewhere in the Unknown World is a collection of powerful stories of refugees who have found new lives in Minnesota's Twin Cities, told by the award-winning author of The Latehomecomer and The Song Poet.
All over this country, there are refugees. But beyond the headlines, few know who they are, how they live, or what they have lost. Although Minnesota is not known for its diversity, the state has welcomed more refugees per capita than any other, from Syria to Bosnia, Thailand to Liberia. Now, with nativism on the rise, Kao Kalia Yang--herself a Hmong refugee--has gathered stories of the stateless who today call the Twin Cities home.
Here are people who found the strength and courage to rebuild after leaving all they hold dear. Awo and her mother, who escaped from Somalia, reunite with her father on the phone every Saturday, across the span of continents and decades. Tommy, born in Minneapolis to refugees from Cambodia, cannot escape the war that his parents carry inside. As Afghani flees the reach of the Taliban, he seeks at every stop what he calls a certificate of his humanity. Mr. Truong brings pho from Vietnam to Frogtown in St. Paul, reviving a crumbling block as well as his own family.
In Yang's exquisite, necessary telling, these fourteen stories for refugee journeys restore history and humanity to America's strangers and redeem its long tradition of welcome.
Kao Kalia Yang is the author of The Song Poet, which received the 2017 Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the PEN USA Literary Award, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her previous book, The Latehomecomer, also received the Minnesota Book Award. Her children's books include A Map into the World, which won the Minnesota Book Award, and The Shared Room. Yang, a regular contributor to NPR's On Being, lives in Saint Paul