Nilanjana Sudeshna Lahiri, better known as Jhumpa Lahiri, turns 51 today. The talented Indian-American author has been selected as the winner of the 29th PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short story.
Lahiri won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies, which was launched in 1999. The Namesake, her first novel, was adapted into a film, which went on to become very popular.
The author was appointed by former US President Barack Obama as a member of the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities. She later resigned in August 2017 after Trump won the US Presidential elections.
The author has been known to speak her mind out, both in her works and otherwise. Here are some of her very inspiring quotes, which never fail to impress.
On taking risks and being fearless
“You can’t have a hit every time. The main thing is to keep on working and not be afraid to take risks. It’s better to do something that’s not perfect and successful every time. It’s important to be fearless and move forward, to learn from what went wrong.”
On freedom and liberty
” I think that what I have been truly searching for as a person, as a writer, as a thinker, as a daughter, is freedom. That is my mission. A sense of liberty, the liberty that comes not only from self-awareness but also from letting go of many things. Many things that weigh us down. ”
On her work
“I’m always intrigued by authors who say, ‘This book took 17 drafts.’ They’re very clear about it. I couldn’t possibly count the number of times… So many of these stories I worked on for a very long time and wrote them, set them aside, rewrote them, worked on something else – they were never far from reach; they informed each other. ”
“I have two young children, and I will say that motherhood is its own peak, just like in the process of writing: one climbs and is continuously moving with each book. Becoming a mother is the greatest connection I’ve ever felt to being spiritual.”
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On facing fears
“It took me a long time to even dare to envision myself as a writer. I was very uncertain and hesitant and afraid to pursue a creative life. ”
On her role as a writer
“I approach writing stories as a recorder. I think of my role as some kind of reporting device – recording and projecting. ”
On representation of her characters
“I try to represent specific experiences of specific characters, and that’s all I want to try to do. I don’t ever try to think about representing a culture, because it’s impossible, and someone will fault you. And it just doesn’t interest me.”
On her responsibilities as a writer
“My responsibility isn’t to paint a flattering portrait; my responsibility is to paint a real portrait, a true portrait. ”
Winner of the National Humanities Medal, Lahiri is currently a professor of creative writing at Princeton University.
Kriti Dwivedi is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv