Jumpha Lahiri, photo by Elena Seibert

Jhumpa Lahiri

Millicent C. McIntosh Professor of English, Director of the Creative Writing Program

Department

English

Office

402 Barnard Hall
On leave, 2022-23

Contact

*photo by Elena Seibert

Jhumpa Lahiri is a bilingual writer, translator, and literary critic born in London and rasied in the United States. In English, she is the author of two short-story collections (Interpreter of Maladies; Unaccustomed Earth) and two novels (The Namesake; The Lowland) all of which explore the experiences of Bengali immigrants in the United States. In Italian, she has written two works of non-fiction: In altre parole (translated into English by Ann Goldstein as In Other Words, and Il vestito dei libri (translated as The Clothing of Books by Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush. In Italian, she as also published the novel Dove mi trovo (self-translated as Whereabouts), and a volume of poetry entitled Il quaderno di Nerina (forthcoming in English as Nerina’s notebook). She has translated three novels by the Italian writer Domenico Starnone, and is the editor of The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories. A contributor for over twenty-five years toThe New Yorker magazine, she has published critical essays on authors including Ovid, Dante, Primo Levi, Alessandro Manzoni, and James Joyce. The subject of her doctoral dissertation was an analysis of the Italian palazzo as setting and metaphor in English Jacobean drama.

Her teaching interests include the theory and practice of literary translation, the Italian short story, exophonic writers, Classical reception and adaptation, and the diary as literary craft and form. At Princeton University, she taught in the Humanities Sequence (“Approaches to Western Culture: from Antiquity to the Middle Ages”) and founded the university’s first interdisciplinary course on the Surrealist writer and painter Leonora Carrington. She served as Director of Princeton’s Creative Writing Program for three years and helped to inaugurate Princeton’s Translator-in-Residence program position. Her recognitions include the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the PEN/Hemingway Award. She is a Board member of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, a permanent juror for the Strega Prize in Italy, and is part of the editorial committee of the historic Italian literary journal Nuovi Argomenti. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012, and was on the jury of the Venice Film Festival in 2014. In 2016, she received a National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama.

Lahiri holds a B.A. in English from Barnard College. She earned her graduate degrees at Boston University: an M.A. in English Literature, and M.A. in Creative Writing, an M.A. in Comparative Studies in Literature and the Arts, and a Ph.D in Renaissance Studies. She has received honorary degrees from The University of Pennsylvania, Williams College, and the University of Rhode Island, and in Italy, from the University for Siena per Stranieri and from the University of Bologna.

Her most recent English-language publication is a volume of essays, Translating Myself and Others. Her third book of short stories, Racconti romani, will be published in Italy in September 2022, and will appear in the English language in 2023 as Roman Stories, translated by the author in collaboration with Todd Portnowitz. She is currently co-translating, with Professor Yelena Baraz at Princeton University, Ovid’s Metamorphoses from Latin to English for The Modern Library.

  • Ph.D., Boston University - Renaissance Studies
  • M.A., Boston University - Comparative Studies in Literature and the Arts
  • M.A., Boston University - Creative Writing (Fiction)
  • M.A., Boston University - English Literature
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Barnard College - English Literature

  • Author (fiction, poetry, essays, literary criticism) and literary translator
  • Comparative Literature (Ancient Greek and Latin literature, Italian literature)
  • English Literature (Medieval and Early Renaissance, 16th & 17th century, 20th century, contemporary, the short story)
  • Theory and practice of translation
  • Literature in translation, self-translation and exophonic literature

HONORARY DEGREES

  • Laura honoris causa from the University of Bologna, Italy, 2021
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, University of Pennsylvania, 2020
  • Laurea honoris causa (honorary degree), Italian Language and Literature, University of Siena for Foreigners, Italy, 2015
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters, Williams College, 2005
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, University of Rhode Island, 2001

LITERARY AWARDS & CITATIONS

  • The John Florio Prize for translation into English from Italian, 2021
  • Named Commendatore of the Italian Republic, conferred during private reception with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, 2019
  • Finalist, PEN Translation Prize, 2020
  • Gold Medal Recipient, American Academy in Rome, 2019
  • Premio Rugarli, Italy, 2019
  • Finalist, ALTA award, (American Literary Translators Association), 2019
  • Taobook Award for Literary Excellence, Taormina, Italy, 2019
  • Premio Napoli, Italy, 2018
  • Finalist, National Book Award for Translation, 2018
  • Finalist, Italian Prose in Translation Award by the American Literary Translators Association, 2018
  • Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Stipend, Princeton University, 2018
  • Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, 2017
  • PEN Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story, December 2017
  • Premio Internazionale Viareggio-Versilia, 2015
  • DCS Prize for South Asian Literature, 2015
  • National Humanities Medal, 2014
  • Finalist, Booker Prize, 2013
  • Finalist, National Book Award for Fiction, 2013
  • Finalist, Orange Prize for Fiction, 2014
  • Premio Capalbio for International Narrative, Italy, 2012
  • Member, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Inducted Spring 2001
  • Premio Gregor Von Rezzori (Italy), 2009
  • Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Award, 2009
  • Story Prize finalist, 2009
  • Asian American Writers’ Workshop Literary Award for Fiction, 2009
  • New York Times, 10 Best Books of the Year citation, 2008
  • Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize, 2007
  • Columbia University Medal of Excellence, 2005
  • New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Award, 2004
  • Finalist, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, 2004
  • New York Magazine Best Book Award, 2003
  • Pulitzer Prize for fiction, 2000
  • PEN/Hemingway Award, 2000
  • Addison M. Metcalf Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2000
  • Boston University Alumni Award, 2000
  • Best Debut, The New Yorker Book Awards, 2000
  • Finalist, Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, 2000
  • “Books to Remember,” citation, New York Public Library, 2000
  • New York Times Notable Book citation, 1999
  • O. Henry Award, 1999
  • Inclusion in The Best American Short Stories, 1999, 2000, 2002
  • Named one of “20 Writers for the 21st Century,” The New Yorker, 1999
  • Fellow, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, 1999  
  • Fiction Prize, The Louisville Review, 1997
  • Finalist, Heekin Group Foundation Fellowship for short fiction, 1997 
  • Special Mention for Fiction, Pushcart Prize IX, 1994
  • Robert Fitzgerald Translation Prize, 1994
  • Transatlantic Review Award, The Henfield Foundation, 1993

BOOKS IN ENGLISH

Whereabouts (novel), self-translated from Italian, Alfred A. Knopf, 2021

The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories, edited, introduced, and with selected translations (anthology), Penguin, 2019

The Clothing of Books (non-fiction) translated by Alberto Vourvoulias Bush, Alfred A. Knopf, 2016

In Other Words (non-fiction) translated by Ann Goldstein, Alfred A. Knopf, 2016

The Lowland (novel), Alfred A. Knopf, 2013

Unaccustomed Earth (stories), Alfred A. Knopf, 2008

The Namesake (novel), Houghton Mifflin, 2003

Interpreter of Maladies (short stories), Houghton Mifflin, 1999

(Works translated into over 40 languages worldwide)

 

BOOKS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN AND PUBLISHED IN ITALIAN

Il quaderno di Nerina / “Nerina’s Notebook” (poetry and prose), Guanda, 2021

Dove mi trovo (novel), Guanda, 2018

Il vestito dei libri (non-fiction) Guanda, 2016

In altre parole (non-fiction), Guanda, 2015

 

BOOK-LENGTH TRANSLATIONS FROM ITALIAN

Trust / Confidenza, novel by Domenico Starnone, with translator’s afterword, Europa Editions, 2021

Trick / Scherzetto, novel by Domenico Starnone, with translator’s introduction, Europa Editions, 2017

Ties / Lacci, novel by Domenico Starnone, with translator’s introduction, Europa Editions, 2016