DISTANCE: Ornela Vorpsi & Lea Ypi

Saturday 22 April 2023, 15:45-17:00 
Coronet Theatre, Auditorium, £8/£7 concessions

Albania was the last communist outpost in Europe, the only country in the Balkans where the regime lasted until 1991. When it was overthrown, its population had to adapt to swift changes that brought about an economic, social and political crisis which led many people to leave the country.

Among these were writer and artist Ornela Vorpsi and writer and scholar Lea Ypi, who both left Albania for Italy before moving to France and the United Kingdom respectively. Both have written books that entangle family and personal events with the history of their country of origin. In this special event they will share their thoughts on growing up in Albania and living across different countries, as well as the intertwining roles of literature, politics and migration in shaping who they have become as intellectuals and artists today.

This event is in English. 

Running time: 75 minutes including Q&A.


Lea Ypi

Lea Ypi is a professor of Political Theory at the London School of Economics. Her first trade book, Free: Coming of Age at the End of History (2021) won the Ondaatje Prize and the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize and the Costa Biography Award. It is being translated into twenty languages. She lives in London and contributes regularly to The Guardian.

Ornela Vorpsi

Ornela Vorpsi is an Albanian writer, photographer and a painter. In 1991 she moved to Milan to study Fine Arts and she is now based in Paris. The Country Where Nobody Dies (Einaudi, 2005), her debut novel, has been translated in eighteen countries and won many prizes in Italy, among which the Grinzane Cavour, Vittorini Opera Prima and Viareggio.


Paolo Nelli

Paolo Nelli is an London-based writer and teaches Italian language and culture at King’s College.