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Young Authors Conference Theme & Keynote

This year's theme Expect the Unexpected! Where Will Writing Take You? will challenge young writers to use the written word to explore unexpected paths and make discoveries about themselves, their capabilities, and the impact they can have on others.


Ibrahim Hirsi is the March 22 keynote.
When Ibrahim Hirsi arrived in the U.S. over a decade ago as a refugee, he had one dream: to be a writer. Currently, Hirsi is a staff writer at MinnPost, where he covers workforce and immigration issues. Before joining MinnPost, Ibrahim reported for multiple news organizations in New York, Minneapolis, and St. Cloud. For his reporting in Minnesota, Ibrahim was presented the 2018 MLK Commitment to Service Award at the MLK Day celebration in St. Paul. Ibrahim got his start in journalism at ThreeSixty Journalism, a youth program based at the University of St. Thomas. At YAC, Hirsi will share the exciting places writing has taken him.

Kao Kalia Yang is the May 28-31 keynote.
Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer and the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir (Coffee House Press, 2008) and The Song Poet (Metropolitan Books, 2016). Both non-fiction books were awarded the Minnesota Book Award. In the fall of 2019, Yang will debut her first children's book, A Map Into The World (Carolrhoda Books). When speaking about The Latehomecomer, Yang said, "My grandmother, a woman who could not read or write, never imagined that she would be the subject of a book." Yang added, "I grew up in a community that believed we needed doctors and lawyers, not writers, and here I stand: a writer whose work is much needed by the old and the young alike."

At the Young Authors Conference, students...

Are challenged and encouraged to be better writers.

Leave with new strategies, ideas, and skills to become a better writer.

Learn that strong writing skills are important in life.