Bio & Education

LYNN FREED was born and grew up in Durban, South Africa. She came to New York as a graduate student, receiving her M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature from Columbia University.

After moving to San Francisco, she wrote her first novel, HEART CHANGE (republished as FRIENDS OF THE FAMILY). Since then, she has published six more novels: HOME GROUNDTHE BUNGALOW, THE MIRROR HOUSE OF  WOMENTHE SERVANTS’ QUARTERS and, in 2017, THE LAST LAUGH. She has a collection of short stories, THE CURSE OF THE APPROPRIATE MAN, and two collections of essays: READING, WRITING & LEAVING HOME: LIFE ON THE PAGE and THE ROMANCE OF ELSEWHERE.

Ms. Freed’s short fiction and essays have appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Narrative Magazine, Ploughshares, Southwest Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Santa Monica Review, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Mirabella, Elle, House Beautiful, House & Garden, Travel & Leisure, and Vogue, among others. Her work is widely translated, and is included in a number of anthologies.

In 2011 Ms. Freed won an O. Henry Award for her short story, “Sunshine” (included in THE O. HENRY PRIZE STORIES 2011), and, in 2015, another for “The Way Things Are Going” (included in THE O. HENRY PRIZE STORIES, 2015). In 2012, her essay, “Keeping Watch”, was included in BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING. She has won the Bay Area Book Reviewers’ Award for Fiction (HOME GROUND), and has subsequently had four books nominated for the same award. Most of her books have appeared on The New York Times “Notable Books of the Year” list as well as on its “New & Noteworthy Paperback” list, as they have on the lists of The Washington Post, The TLS and other journals.

In 2002, Ms. Freed was awarded the inaugural Katherine Anne Porter Award in fiction by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Guggenheim Foundation, and been awarded residencies and fellowships supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, The Camargo Foundation, The Lannan Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Bogliasco Foundation, Civitella Ranieri, The Corporation of Yaddo, and The MacDowell Colony, among others.

Ms. Freed is Professor Emerita of English at the University of California in Davis.


PH.D. English Literature
Columbia University

M.A. English Literature
Columbia University

University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg


TEACHING Literature and Creative Writing

  • Professor Emerita of English, University of California, Davis


  • Professor of English, University of California, Davis (2000-2015)
  • Core Faculty, MFA Program, Bennington College, Bennington, VT
  • Distinguished Writer in Residence, St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA
  • Writer in Residence, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
  • Writer in Residence, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
  • Professor, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
  • Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley, CA
  • Lecturer, City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

(a selection)

  • Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference
  • Squaw Valley Community of Writers
  • Prague Summer Program
  • Bennington Writing Workshops
  • Napa Valley Writers’ Conference


  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • University of San Diego, San Diego, CA
  • American University, Washington, D.C.
  • George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
  • St. Lawrence University, NY
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
  • Denison University, Ohio
  • Denver University, Denver, CO
  • San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
  • California State University, Chico, CA