Session and Panel Presenters

Sky Blue Water panel (Breakout One)

Kao Kalia Yang
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 book, 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.
Kao Kalia Yang is a member of the Hmong ethnic minority. Born in Thailand’s Ban Vinai Refugee Camp, Yang is now an American citizen.
http://www.kaokaliayang.com/

Pete Hautman
“I was born in 1952 in Berkeley, California.  I lived in the Bay Area until I was five, by which time I had three younger siblings. In 1958 we moved to St. Louis Park, Minnesota, where my parents continued to produce offspring.  By 1964 I had four brothers and two sisters. I attended Cedar Manor Elementary School (also the alma mater of Al Franken and the Coen brothers), and eventually graduated honor-free from St. Louis Park High School.”
http://www.petehautman.com/

Kevin Kling
Kevin Kling describes his zodiac sign as “Minnesota with Iowa rising…” He grew up in Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove, Minneapolis suburbs, and graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater. His storytelling started when a friend from the now defunct Brass Tacks Theatre asked him to perform his stories. Since then, he has been awarded numerous arts grants and fellowships. The National Endowment for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, The Bush Foundation, The Jerome Foundation and others have recognized Kling’s artistry.  In 2014 Mayor RT Rybak named Kevin “Minneapolis Story Laureate”.
http://www.kevinkling.com/

 

Publishing Biz (Breakout One)

Andrew Karre
In 2005, Andrew Karre helped launch the YA imprint Flux. He was an editorial director at Lerner Publishing Group from 2008 through 2014, overseeing Carolrhoda Books and founding Carolrhoda Lab. He has published first novels by such noted authors as Maggie Stiefvater, A.S. King, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Blythe Woolston, Carrie Mesrobian, and E.K. Johnston. In 2015, he joined Dutton Books for Young Readers as executive editor, focusing on YA and MG, fiction and nonfiction. He works from his home in St. Paul, Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter at @andrewkarre.

 

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: Mental Health in YA Lit (Breakout One)

Amanda McGregor
Amanda MacGregor holds a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature in Boston, Massachusetts. She has worked as a librarian, bookseller, and freelance writer. She is a contributor to the blog Teen Librarian Toolbox and reviews books for School Library Journal. Amanda lives in Eagan and is represented by Andrea Cascardi at Transatlantic Agency.

 

Writer’s Workshop (Breakout Two)

Pete Hautman
“I was born in 1952 in Berkeley, California.  I lived in the Bay Area until I was five, by which time I had three younger siblings. In 1958 we moved to St. Louis Park, Minnesota, where my parents continued to produce offspring.  By 1964 I had four brothers and two sisters. I attended Cedar Manor Elementary School (also the alma mater of Al Franken and the Coen brothers), and eventually graduated honor-free from St. Louis Park High School.”
http://www.petehautman.com/

 

Storytelling (Breakout Two)

Kevin Kling
Kevin Kling describes his zodiac sign as “Minnesota with Iowa rising…” He grew up in Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove, Minneapolis suburbs, and graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater. His storytelling started when a friend from the now defunct Brass Tacks Theatre asked him to perform his stories. Since then, he has been awarded numerous arts grants and fellowships. The National Endowment for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, The Bush Foundation, The Jerome Foundation and others have recognized Kling’s artistry.  In 2014 Mayor RT Rybak named Kevin “Minneapolis Story Laureate”.
http://www.kevinkling.com/

 

Writing Creative Nonfiction (Breakout Two)

Caren Stelson
Caren Stelson is the author of Sachiko: A Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Story and other works for children and young adults. To write Sachiko, Caren traveled to Nagasaki five times to interview Sachiko Yasui and research her story. Caren has had a long career in education, as a teacher, writer-in-residence and freelance writer. After receiving her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University in 2009, Caren decided it was time to write the stories that needed her attention. Caren and her husband Kim have two grown children. They split their time between home in Minneapolis and the small town of Lanesboro.
http://www.carenstelson.com/about/about.html

 

Good Time for the Truth Panel (Breakout Two)

Venessa Fuentes
Venessa Fuentes is a self-identified Philanthro-Nerd Of Color— a term she lovingly coined during her time as an inaugural Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow. In her role as Communications Program Manager, she uses the leadership skills and networks built up from years of service to local arts and human services nonprofits. She also brings a lifelong love of words and an equity lens to work every day. Despite her aversion to camping and cold weather, Venessa knows the Midwest is best. She lives in south Minneapolis with her wife, their son and their two dogs. She dreams of retiring in Paris with her wife and a stack of notebooks to write poems in.
https://www.bushfoundation.org/about-us/staff/venessa-fuentes

Shannon Gibney
Shannon Gibney was born in 1975, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was adopted by Jim and Sue Gibney about five months later, and grew up with her two (biological) brothers, Jon and Ben. Shannon has loved to read and to write as far back as she can remember. When she was in second grade, she started making “books” about her family’s camping trips, and later graduated to a series on three sibling detectives in fourth grade.When she was 15, her father gave her James Baldwin’s Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, a book that changed her life and made her see the possibilities of the written word. The novel took a long, difficult look at relations between Blacks and Whites, the poor and the rich, gay and straight people, and fused searing honesty with metaphorical beauty. After this experience, Shannon knew that she needed to read everything Baldwin had ever written, and also that she wanted to emulate his strategy of telling the most dangerous, and therefore liberating kind of truth, through writing.
https://shannongibney.com/

Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria
Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria is a writer and spoken-word poet of Peruvian heritage heavily involved with Palabristas, a Minnesota-based Latin poets collective. He is a graduate of the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and an involved acivist in the Latin community. He writes about fatherhood; the duality of two cultures in English, Spanglish, and Spanish; and issues pertaining to his community and life experiences.
https://cla.umn.edu/about/directory/profile/sanc0072