Pulitzer Prize winner Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri has been named as the director of the Creative Writing Program by Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. Lahiri has been serving as a professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University since 2015. She succeeded 2017-19 U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, who has led the program since 2015.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lahiri has been working as a professor in the creative writing department of Princeton University since 2015.
  • She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Interpreter of Maladies, her debut story collection.
  • She was awarded the National Medals of Arts and Humanities by US President Barack Obama in 2014
  • She also won the PEN Hemingway award in 2000, for her debut book Interpreter of Maladies

“At a time when words are used to falsify and divide, I am proud and inspired to direct a diverse and inclusive creative writing program that unites Princeton students with some of the world’s finest writers.” Jhumpa Lahiri

“Jhumpa Lahiri, one of the great writers of our time, is a truly galvanizing and empowering presence in the classroom,” said Smith. “Our community is enriched by her commitments to the development of student writers, the practice of translation, and the wealth of literature being written in languages other than English. Jhumpa has also engaged in conversations around the intersection of literature and other art forms and disciplines. Under her directorship, the Creative Writing Program will enter an urgent and meaningful new phase.”

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Pulitzer Prize Winning 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 a 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 more books which are a collection of short stories.

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

Awarded National Medals of Arts and Humanities by Former US President Barack Obama in 2014

Jhumpa Lahiri was awarded the 2014 National Medals of Arts and Humanities by US President Barack Obama at the White House for her exemplary writings cantered around Indo- American experience from the lens of an Indian migrant. The White House citation read: “The 2014 National Humanities Medal to Jhumpa Lahiri, for enlarging the human story. In her works of fiction, Dr Lahiri has illuminated the Indian-American experience in beautifully wrought narratives of estrangement and belonging.”

“At a time when words are used to falsify and divide, I am proud and inspired to direct a diverse and inclusive creative writing program that unites Princeton students with some of the world’s finest writers,” said Lahiri. “Never before has our faculty represented such a multitude of cultures, languages, and perspectives. This year not only marks the 80th anniversary of the program but our continued determination to redefine the literary landscape.” The New York Times has featured her short story Unaccustomed Earth in its bestseller list. In Unaccustomed Earth, Lahiri shifted from the first-generation narrative to that of second and third who fail to identify with the culture of their immigrant parents.

Picture Credit: Montclair State University

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