Esther Freier Lecture
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.
Helen Oyeyemi Talk & Discussion
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
4 pm Central Time [a live Zoom event]
The Department of English and the Esther Freier Endowment present British author Helen Oyeyemi, the author of Boy, Snow, Bird and Gingerbread.
This event is free and open to the public. Register here to attend this Zoom event.
Oyeyemi is publishing a new novel, Peaces, on April 6, a “Most Anticipated Book of 2021” by The Boston Globe, Medium, The Millions, Lithub, and O, The Oprah Magazine. “Curious characters, strange events, and mysteries abound in Oyeyemi’s delightfully bonkers latest,” notes Publishers Weekly. Oyeyemi is author of the six other novels as well as the story collection What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. She is the recipient of the PEN Open Book Award and the Somerset Maugham Award. Born in Nigeria, Oyeyemi resides in Prague.
“Helen Oyeyemi twists familiar stories in entirely unpredictable ways, and her books never end up where you thought they would.” – Vulture
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 7, 2020: Alison Bechdel
- October 23, 2019: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- October 4, 2018: Frank Bidart & Maggie Nelson
- April 4, 2018: Young People's Lit Panel with M. T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, David Barclay Moore, and Nicola Yoon
- 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