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Jumpa Lahiri

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rdalls
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Jumpa Lahiri Jumpa Lahiri was born on July 11, 1967 in London to Bengali parents. She was named Nilanjana Sudeshna by her patents, but she goes by her pet name Jumpa. She moved to South Kingstown, Rhode Island when she was three years old. Jumpa Lahiri learned her Bengali heritage from her mother from a very early age. Jhumpa Lahiri is the daughter of a librarian and school teacher. She has always been inclined to creative writing. She married Alberto Vourvoulias Bush in 2001. They have two children from their marriage Octavio and Noor. Jumpa Lahiri received her B.A in English literature from Barnard College in 1989. She went on to earn an M.A. in English, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, an M.A. in Comparative Literature, and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies from Boston University. From 1997-98, she held a fellowship at Provincetown's Fine Arts Work Center. Right from a very young age she felt very strong ties to her parent’s homeland, India, as well as the United States and England. A sense of homelessness and an inability to feel accepted took place as she grew up with the ties to all three countries. To her it is an inheritance of her parent’s ties to India. “The question of identity is always a difficult one, but especially so for those who are culturally displaced, as immigrants are, or those who grow up in two worlds simultaneously, as is the case for their children.”- Jhumpa Lahiri. She is indeed the storyteller who weaves the lace of love, identity, crisis, lies and faults in a matured way. Her works are enriched with sensitive dilemmas in life. Characters in her books experience cultural as well as the generational gaps. She therefore comments on the effects of Western colonialism on Indians. Jumpa Lahiri is not only a writer but the weaver of dreams, the fabricator of emotion and therefore each and every novel of hers becomes an outlet for her emotions. Lahiri is able to draw her readers in the story through her details and by making them feel the emotional, physical and mental needs of the characters.
Lahiri received the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Interpreter of Maladies, her debut story collection that explores issues of love and identity among immigrants and cultural transplants. Jumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake was published in the fall of 2003 to great acclaim. The Namesake expands on the perplexities of the immigrant experience and the search for identity. A film version of The Namesake directed by Mira Nair was released in 2007. Lahiri’s most recent book of short stories, entitled Unaccustomed Earth, received the 2008 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist for the Story Prize. She contributed the essay on Rhode Island in the 2008 book State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America. Her most recent book, The Lowland, has been chosen as a finalist for the National Book Award in fictions. Since 2005, Lahiri has been a Vice President of PEN American Center, an organization designed to promote friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers. In February 2010, she was appointed a member of the Committee on the Arts and Humanities, which works on making art education stronger and more central in public schools as well as increase the benefits of art education in schools.
By emailing her publisher Alfred A. Knopf, I found out that she is a succinct realist writer in an era of attention-getting maneuvers. She does not have a hook: no genre bending, no comics inflected supernaturalism, no world historical ventriloquism, no flip books. Just couples and families joining, coming apart, dealing with immigration, death and estrangement. She works a lot on sentences and keeping simple prose. Lahiri’s favorite writers are Chekhov, Thomas Hardy, William Trevor and Alice Munro. In 2015 Knopf will publish In Other Words the English language version of Jumpa Lahiri’s Italian book In Altre Parole - a series of brief essays about learning to speak, read and write in Italian.

Kachka, Boris. "The Confidence Artist." 31 Mar. 2008. Web. 30 Aug. 2014.

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