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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. "When I embarked on the journey to fulfill that dream, however, it turned out that the road was long, lonely, and full of unexpected twists," said Ibrahim Hirsi. "At the 2019 Young Authors Conference, I will talk about how I've become the journalist I am and the exciting places writing has taken me, both emotionally and literally." Currently, Hirsi is a staff writer at MinnPost, where he covers workforce and immigration issues.

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.