ST. PAUL, Minn. — Coffee House Press and the Saint Paul Public Library are excited to announce that Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir (Coffee House Press, 2008), will be the newly-revamped Sun Ray Library’s artist-in-residence this Spring.
Kao Kalia Yang will hold with in conversation with Saint Paul librarian Rebecca Ryan, on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 7 p.m., at Sun Ray Library, 2105 Wilson Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55119. The event is free and open to the public.
Kao Kalia Yang is a member of the Hmong ethnic minority. Her memoir, The Latehomecomer, was the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2009 Minnesota Book Award for Creative Nonfiction/Memoir. Her follow-up book, The Song Poet (Metropolitan Books, 2016), will be a tribute to both her father and to the Hmong tradition of storytelling.
As a speaker presenting to students in K-12 public and private schools, universities, and colleges, and various other community groups, Yang addresses the immigrant experience and helps facilitate storytelling both on and off the page. During the course of her Sun Ray Library residency, she’ll use the books, space, and community to further develop her craft as a writer and storyteller.
Yang’s residency is part of In The Stacks, a program developed by Coffee House Press to encourage artists and the general public to think about libraries as creative spaces. The two year old program has placed writers and artists in residencies at the Walker Art Center, American Craft Council, Quatrefoil Library, Poets House, American Swedish Institute, Hennepin County Library, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Ms. Yang and Rebecca Ryan, Manager of Sun Ray Library, will recap the residency during the May 6th public event.
The goal of In The Stacks is to create a body of work that will inspire a broader public to engage with their local libraries in a new and meaningful way, and to encourage artists and the general public to think about libraries as creative spaces.
In The Stacks is part Books in Action, a broader initiative by Coffee House Press to publish works and develop programs that encourage and nurture literary arts beyond the page, highlighting people and organizations working to further interdisciplinary collaborations, reader engagement, and nontraditional means of accessing the reading experience.
“Each residency has generated a much different result, ranging from essays, fiction, and poetry to visual and performance art.” said Jay Peterson, the program’s coordinator. “I’m looking forward to seeing how Kalia uses her time as a resident to both push forward current projects and to lay the groundwork for future creative work. We also hope to show artists on the East Side, whether young or not-so-young, that the library system can play a helpful role in their creative process.”
Peterson and staff from the Saint Paul Public Library chose the Sun Ray branch to highlight its newly renovated indoor and outdoor reading and community spaces. With an additional 2,500 square feet of indoor public space added in 2014, Sun Ray now has an outdoor reading garden, a quiet reading room, flexible study/meeting rooms, and a 900 square-foot community room with bathrooms and after-hours access.
The CHP In The Stacks program is part of Coffee House Press’s Books in Action initiative and is inspired by the Library as Incubator Project. The program places readers and writers in residence at public, school, and specialty libraries to create new work that will inspire a broader public to engage with their local libraries in new and meaningful ways. In May of 2014, Coffee House Press published a book of essays, images, and other resources with The Library as Incubator Project titled The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide.
Kao Kalia Yang is a teacher, public speaker, and writer. Yang is the author of the award-winning book, The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir (Coffee House Press, 2008), and The Song Poet (Metropolitan Books, 2016). She is a graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Kao Kalia lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her family.
Located in Minneapolis, Coffee House Press is an independent, nonprofit literary publisher of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. The mission of Coffee House Press is to publish exciting, vital, and enduring authors of our time; to delight and inspire readers; to contribute to the cultural life of our community; and to enrich our literary heritage. By building on the best traditions of publishing and the book arts, Coffee House produces books that celebrate imagination, innovation in the craft of writing, and the many authentic voices of the American experience. Visit coffeehousepress.org for more information.
The newly renovated Sun Ray Library offers a refreshed collection of mostly new books, CDs, and DVDs as well as computer classes, job search assistance, story times, homework help, reading tutoring, and Createch, a creative/technology space for teens. The library now features an additional 2,500 square feet of indoor public space, an outdoor reading garden, a quiet reading room, flexible study/meeting rooms, and a 900 square-foot community room with bathrooms and after-hours access.
CHP In The Stacks is made possible in part by a grant from the McKnight Foundation. This residency is made possible through the funding from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.