Lea Ypi: On Freedom
Lea Ypi’s memoir of growing up in communist Albania, Free, is an unforgettable coming-of-age story exploring the meaning of freedom in all its forms. The collapse of communism was a turning point in history that she remembers vividly and recounts with outstanding literary talent. Communism had failed to deliver the promised utopia, putting strict boundaries around one’s individual future. And when the early ’90s saw Albania and other Balkan countries exuberantly begin a transition to the “free market,” Western ideals of freedom delivered chaos: a dystopia of pyramid schemes, organised crime, and sex trafficking. Now one of the world’s most dynamic young political thinkers and a prominent leftist voice, Lea offers a fresh and invigorating perspective on the relation between the personal and the political, between values and identity, posing urgent questions about the cost of freedom.
Lea Ypi is an Albanian author and academic. She is Professor in Political Theory at the London School of Economics, and Adjunct Associate Professor in Philosophy at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. Before joining the LSE, she was a Post-doctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College (Oxford) and a researcher at the European University Institute where she obtained her PhD. Lea's research interests are in normative political theory (democratic theory, theories of justice, issues of migration and territorial rights), Enlightenment political thought, Marxism and critical theory, as well as the intellectual history of the Balkans and her native Albania.
Her latest book Free: Coming of Age at the End of History won the Ondaatje Prize, the Slightly Foxed First Biography Prize and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction, and the Costa Prize for Biography. It was The Sunday Times' memoir of the year and a book of the year for The Guardian, The New Yorker, The Financial Times, The Spectator, New Statesman, and others.
Free: Coming of Age at the End of History (2021), The Architectonic of Reason (2021).