Esther Freud

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Esther Freud
William Dalrymple.jpg
Esther Freud (centre), at PalFest 2008 with William Dalrymple and Dr. Hanan Ashrawi
Born (1963-05-02) 2 May 1963 (age 59)
Years active1984–present
(m. 2006; sep. 2020)
RelativesFreud family

Esther Freud (born 2 May 1963) is a British novelist.

Early life and training[edit]

Born in London,[1] Freud is the daughter of Bernardine Coverley and painter Lucian Freud. She is also a great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud and niece of Clement Freud. She travelled extensively with her mother as a child, returning to London at 16 to train as an actress at The Drama Centre.


She has worked in television and theatre as both actress and writer. Her first credited television appearance was as a terrified diner in The Bill in 1984, running frantically out of a Chinese restaurant after it had received a bomb scare. A year later she appeared as an alien in the Doctor Who serial Attack of the Cybermen.[2] Her novels include the semi-autobiographical Hideous Kinky, which was adapted into a film starring Kate Winslet.

She is also the author of The Wild, Gaglow, and The Sea House.[3] She also wrote the foreword for The Summer Book by Tove Jansson.

Freud was named as one of the 20 "Best of Young British Novelists" by Granta magazine in 1993.[3] Her novels have been translated into 13 languages.[3] She is also the co-founder (with Kitty Aldridge) of the women's theatre company Norfolk Broads.

In 2009, she donated the short story Rice Cakes and Starbucks to Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Her story was published in the 'Water' collection.[4] As of 2014 Freud taught at the Faber Academy.

Personal life[edit]

Freud has a sister, fashion designer Bella Freud, and a half-brother, Noah Woodman. Her uncle was politician Sir Clement Freud. She has two cousins in the media industry; public relations executive Matthew and broadcaster Emma.

She was married to actor David Morrissey, with whom she had three children. They married in 2006.[5] They had separated by 2020, when Freud began living with a boyfriend.[6] Freud maintains homes in London and Walberswick near Southwold in Suffolk.

Freud's maternal grandparents were practising Irish Catholics but her mother was nonobservant, while her father's Jewish family were atheists. She identifies herself as Jewish.[7][8][9]


  • Hideous Kinky (1992)
  • Peerless Flats (1993)
  • Gaglow (1997)
  • The Wild (2000)
  • The Sea House (2003)
  • Love Falls (2007)
  • Lucky Break (2010)
  • Mr Mac and Me (2014)
  • I Couldn't Love You More (2021)[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alice O'Keeffe (31 August 2014). "Esther Freud: 'I realised the book I'd been writing for 18 months was awful'". The Guardian.
  2. ^ Freud, Esther (4 April 2009). "I was an alien in Dr Who". The Times. London. Retrieved 4 April 2009.
  3. ^ a b c British Council. "Esther Freud - British Council Literature". Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  4. ^ Oxfam: Ox-Tales Archived 20 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Celebrity couple tie the knot in Suffolk". 14 August 2006.
  6. ^ Preston, Alex (29 May 2021). "Esther Freud: 'I didn't learn to read till I was about 10'". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Interview: Esther Freud". The JC. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  8. ^ "The NS Interview: Bella Freud, designer and campaigner". The New Statesman. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Bernardine Freud obituary". The Guardian. August 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Esther Freud: 'I didn't learn to read till I was about 10'". 29 May 2021.

External links[edit]