Author and activist Bao Phi to receive Kay Sexton literary award

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Bao Phi, author, artist, arts administrator, activist and grassroots organizer, is the 2024 Kay Sexton Award winner, announced on Tuesday by Friends of the St. Paul Public Library. This highest award in the local literary community is given for outstanding dedication and work in fostering books, reading and literary activity in Minnesota.

Phi has been a leader in the state’s literary community for more than 25 years, featured as a poetry performer, children’s book reader and guest workshop leader in hundreds of organizations in Minnesota and around the country from colleges to community centers to prisons and homeless centers, and he has sat on numerous panels where he has advocated for equity for artists from underrepresented communities.

From 2017: Minnesota author Bao Phi’s new children’s book captures immigrant experience.

He will be honored at the 36th annual Minnesota Book Awards ceremony May 7 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul Tickets are $22. Go to

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