Lea Ypi

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Lea Ypi
Ypi in a video from the British Library in 2022
Born8 September 1979 (1979-09-08) (age 44)
Tirana, Albania
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolContinental philosophy
Critical theory
Main interests
Political theory, Enlightenment, Marxism, Nationalism

Lea Ypi (born 8 September 1979)[1] is an Albanian academic and author. She is a professor of political theory at the London School of Economics.[2] In 2022, she was named one of the world's top ten thinkers by the British magazine Prospect[3] and one of the most important cultural figures by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.[4] She was named one of the six most important thinkers of 2023 by El Pais.[5] Her work has been translated in 30 languages and won numerous prizes, including the British Academy "Brian Barry" Prize for excellence in Political Science and a Leverhulme Prize for outstanding research achievements. She was elected to the Academia Europaea in 2020[6] and is a member of the jury of the Deutscher Memorial Prize.[7]

Background and early life[edit]

Ypi was born in Tirana, the eldest child of Xhaferr Ypi and Vjollca Veli, who were relatively regular citizens under communist rule, but who later became involved in Albanian democratic politics in Ypi's late childhood prior to the 1997 Albanian civil unrest.[8] She grew up in both communist and post-communist Albania, the experience of this transition being the main topic of her book Free: Coming of Age at the End of History (2021). Though her family were compelled to be atheist under communist rule, her family was historically Muslim (Ypi says she is now agnostic).[9] One of her paternal great-grandfathers, Xhafer Ypi, was briefly Prime Minister of Albania in the 1920s, and also very briefly headed the Albanian government at the beginning of the Italian occupation.[10] His son, Ypi's grandfather, was imprisoned by Albania's communist government for 15 years.[11]


Ypi earned her laurea in philosophy at the Sapienza University of Rome in 2002[12] and her laurea in Literature from the same institution in 2004.[12] She received her Master of Research from the European University Institute in 2005 and her PhD from the European University Institute in 2008.[12] Prior to joining the LSE she was a post-doctoral prize research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.

In addition to her native Albanian, Ypi is fluent in English, Italian, French and she also speaks German and Spanish.[citation needed]


Ypi's research interests are in normative political theory (including democratic theory, theories of justice, and issues of migration and territorial rights), Enlightenment political thought (especially Kant), Marxism and critical theory, as well as the intellectual history of the Balkans, especially her native Albania.[13]

Her book Free: Coming of Age at the End of History[14] was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction,[15] and the Costa Prize for Biography.[16] It won the Ondaatje Prize,[17] the Slightly Foxed First Biography Prize,[18] and was The Sunday Times' memoir of the year and a book of the year for The Guardian, The New Yorker, The Financial Times, the TLS, The Spectator, New Statesman, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs and the Daily Mail.[19] In 2022, BBC Radio 4 serialised the book in their Book of the Week series.[20]

Selected bibliography[edit]


  1. ^ "About Me". Archived from the original on 2013-05-11.
  2. ^ "Academic page".
  3. ^ "World's Top Thinkers 2022: the results". Prospect. Retrieved 2023-02-20.
  4. ^ "Die Kulturpersonen 2022". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German).
  5. ^ Ideas (2023-12-31). "Seis pensadores que marcaron el año 2023". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 2024-01-03.
  6. ^ "Ypi, Lea".
  7. ^ "The Deutscher Memorial Prize".
  8. ^ Harding, Luke (25 Oct 2021). "Free by Lea Ypi review – a riveting portrait of growing up in communist Albania". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  9. ^ Kellaway, Kate (4 June 2022). "Interview - Lea Ypi: 'Hope is a moral duty'". The Guardian.
  10. ^ "Free by Lea Ypi review – a memoir of life amid the collapse of communism". the Guardian. 2021-10-28. Retrieved 2022-09-26.
  11. ^ Weaver, Matthew (3 January 2022). "Author says memoir of communist Albania met with 'vicious' abuse". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  12. ^ a b c "CV".
  13. ^ "Lea Ypi". LSE Personal Web. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  14. ^ Typi, Lea (4 November 2021). Free: coming of age at the end of history. LSE Online Event. Interviewed by Kaldor, Mary. YouTube. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  15. ^ "Shortlist announced for the 2021 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction | The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction". thebailliegiffordprize.co.uk. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  16. ^ https://www.costa.co.uk/behind-the-beans/costa-book-awards/book-awards
  17. ^ "RSL Ondaatje Prize 2022 Shortlist Announced". Royal Society of Literature. 2022-04-20. Retrieved 2022-04-20.
  18. ^ "Best First Biography Prize Archives". Slightly Foxed. Retrieved 2022-04-20.
  19. ^ Ypi, Lea (2021). Free: Coming of Age at the End of History. Allen Lane. ISBN 978-0241481851.
  20. ^ Free: Coming of Age at the End of History by Lea Ypi. Book of the Week. BBC Radio 4. 31 January 2022. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  21. ^ The Meaning of Partisanship. Oxford University Press. 6 October 2016. ISBN 978-0-19-968417-5.
  22. ^ Global Justice and Avant-Garde Political Agency. Oxford University Press. 31 March 2017. ISBN 978-0-19-879866-8.
  23. ^ Kant and Colonialism: Historical and Critical Perspectives. Oxford University Press. 20 January 2015. ISBN 978-0-19-966962-2.
  24. ^ Migration in Political Theory. Oxford University Press. 9 July 2019. ISBN 978-0-19-884308-5.
  25. ^ "Lea Ypi". www.penguin.co.uk. Retrieved 2024-01-16.

External links[edit]