Red Lies

Lea Ypi and Marianne Marthinsen

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Arrangert avLitteraturhuset

Lea Ypi and Marianne Marthinsen

As a little girl, Lea Ypi regarded Stalin and Albania’s leader Enver Hoxha as dependable father figures, she liked how her teacher Nora har simple answers to everything, and what she wanted most of all, was to be named a pioneer.

But when the communist regime falls in 1991, the young Lea suddenly realizes that nothing is truly like she thought, and everything known and familiar disappear. Her parents haven’t been supporters of the regime at all, on the contrary, they have been speaking in code her whole life. And she can hardly trust the fallen regime – they denied the people democracy and voice. Has her whole life been a lie?

In her memoir Free: Coming of Age at the End of History, Ypi depicts an unusual childhood: Before she came of age, she had lived trough a communist regime and its fall, the neoliberal society that succeeded it, as well as a ghastly civil war. With acute awareness, attention to detail and no small amount of wit, Ypi offers her reader a unique insight into Albania’s recent history and contention between ideologies and political and economic interests.

With her childhood in Albania, Lea Ypi is today a professor of political theory at London School of Economics, where she, among other things, teaches Marxism. Her memoir Free was awarded the Ondaatje prize and named one of the best books of 2022 by both The New Yorker and Fincancial Times.

At the House of Literature, Ypi will be joined in conversation by Marianne Marthinsen. Marthinsen is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her background is from Norway’s Worker’s Youth League and the Labour Party, which she represented in parliament between 2005 and 2021. Today, she works for Finance Norway.

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