Jhumpa Lahiri turns 50 today, and we bring you some interesting facts about the bestselling author.

Lahiri is the Pulitzer prize winning author of several books which touch upon the immigrant story in America. Her first novel ‘Namesake’, which was later adapted as movie, was set amidst the backdrop of a Bengali family who had migrated to the United States. Her second novel, ‘The Lowland’, beautifully captures the atmosphere of the initial days of Naxalite Movement in Calcutta. She has also written two books of short stories.

She was born as Nilanjana Lahiri, but soon learnt that her name was impossible to pronounce in American classrooms. So she started going by her nickname, Jhumpa.

As a child, Lahiri noticed how much her mother missed Calcutta, and its social norms, and that has influenced her writing.

After writing in English for many years, Lahiri decided to shift gears, and has vowed to now write in Italian, a language she long loved and had a fascination with. Lahiri first went to Italy when she was 20 on a holiday with her sister. She moved to Rome with her husband and children in 2012, so she could write from there.

She graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University, and did her MFA from Boston University.

She was awarded the 2014 National Medals of Arts and Humanities by US President Barack Obama at the White House for her exemplary writings centred around Indo- American experience from the lens of an Indian migrant.

Lahiri is also a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, appointed by the US president Barack Obama in 2010.

Also Read: Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri awarded National Humanities award by Barack Obama

Picture Credit: BU