Esther Freier Lecture


Spring 2018 speakers: MT Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, David Barclay Moore, & Nicola Yoon


We look forward to seeing you at our next free event at the University of Minnesota campus, as the author series that began in 2001 continues to explore literature and the humanities.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Young People's Lit, with MT Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, David Barclay Moore, & Nicola Yoon
7:30 pm, Northrop Carlson Family Stage, 84 Church Street SE, Minneapolis


Hear from best-selling and award-winning authors of contemporary middle grade and young adult fiction! The Department of English and the Freier Lectures present a panel discussion appropriate for readers of all ages with celebrated writers MT Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, David Barclay Moore, and Nicola Yoon.

The authors will also answer audience questions and sign books. Free and open to the public! No tickets or reservations necessary. All welcome!

Anderson is the National Book Award-winning author of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, the science fiction novels Feed and 2017's Landscape with Invisible Hand, and several other young adult and middle grade novels.

DiCamillo won Newbery Medals for her books Flora & Ulysses and The Tale of Despereaux; the latter was made into a film, as was her first novel Because of Winn-Dixie. She is a former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. DiCamillo is also the author of picture books and chapter books; her latest novel is 2016's Raymie Nightingale.

Moore's debut, The Stars Beneath Our Feet, won this year's Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award and was a New York Times notable book of 2017; Michael B. Jordan will direct the movie adaptation.

Yoon's first book, Everything, Everything, is now a major motion picture. Her second, The Sun Is Also a Star, was a National Book Award finalist and Michael L. Printz Honor Book and has also been optioned for film adaptation.

Professor Julie Schumacher, winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor and author of five novels for younger readers, will moderate the discussion.

More author readings are offered through our creative writing program's Edelstein-Keller Visiting Writer Series.



About Esther Freier

The Esther Freier literature series hosts two free lectures each year featuring various prize-winning authors, from Zadie Smith to David Mitchell, Louise Glück to Natasha Trethewey.

The literary legacy that Esther Freier envisioned began in 2001, when celebrated novelist and essayist Jamaica Kincaid inaugurated the Esther Freier Endowed Lecture in Literature series. A clinical laboratory chemist and professor, Freier had a deep and profound love for literature and the humanities. She wanted to leave a legacy that would benefit the public and inspire emerging authors. In her will, Freier created an endowment that would bring prize-winning national and international authors to campus for free, public lectures and informal visits with students.

Esther Freier was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, in 1925. She moved to Minneapolis while still a child and spent her entire academic (BS ‘46, MS ‘56) and professional career of 45 years at the University of Minnesota. She co-authored the first paper dealing with quality control in clinical chemistry, winning several awards. When she retired in 1991, she held the only endowed professorship in medical technology in the nation. That year, Freier served as the first woman president of the Academy of Clinical and Laboratory Physicians and Scientists and was re-elected the following year.

Esther Freier was a teacher, friend, and mentor to many. The Department of English is deeply grateful for her generosity to us, the University, and the community.

Previous Freier Lecturers

  • October 25, 2017: Edwidge Danticat
  • April 13, 2017: Andrew Solomon
  • October, 2016: Claudia Rankine & Marilynne Robinson
  • April, 2016: Abraham Verghese
  • October, 2015: Jeanette Winterson
  • February, 2015: Lynn Nottage
  • October, 2014: James McBride
  • April, 2014: David Mitchell
  • October, 2013: Katherine Boo
  • April, 2013: Colum McCann
  • October, 2012: Zadie Smith
  • April, 2012: Denis Johnson
  • October, 2011: Philip Gourevitch
  • April, 2011: Natasha Trethewey
  • October, 2010: James Salter
  • April, 2010: Richard Powers
  • September, 2009: Maxine Hong Kingston
  • March, 2009: Louise Glück
  • October, 2008: Junot Díaz
  • March, 2006: Suzan-Lori Parks
  • November, 2007: Paul Muldoon
  • April, 2007: E. L. Doctorow
  • November, 2006: Bharati Mukherjee
  • April, 2006: T. C. Boyle
  • October, 2005: Philip Levine
  • April, 2005: Anna Deavere Smith
  • November, 2004: Rita Dove
  • April, 2004: A. S. Byatt
  • October, 2003: Arnold Rampersad
  • February, 2003: Michael Chabon
  • November, 2002: Edmund White
  • March, 2002: Barry Lopez
  • March, 2001: W. S. Merwin
  • February, 2001: Jamaica Kincaid