Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri catapulted into literary fame writing about difference.
The 42-year-old, born in London and raised in Rhode Island by her Bengali Indian parents, uses fiction to explore the pain of cultural transplantation.
"It interests me to imagine characters shifting from one situation and one location to another for whatever the circumstances may be," said Lahiri, in a 2008 interview with the Atlantic Monthly. "I find that interesting because when you grow up the child of an immigrant you are always-or at least I was-very conscious of what it means or might mean to be uprooted or to uproot yourself."
Lahiri, who is the 2010 Kestnbaum Writer-in Residence, will read from her work at the International House Assembly Hall on Monday, May 10. The event begins at 7:30 p.m., with a reception to follow.
Previous Kestnbaum Writers include Stuart Dybek, George Saunders, Lydia Davis, Zadie Smith and Art Spiegelman.
Kate Soto, program coordinator for the College's Committee on Creative Writing, said Lahiri's upcoming visit has generated a buzz on campus.
"She's a widely-popular writer and already has attracted interest from students and faculty across the disciplines," Soto said. "She speaks to a lot of different people's interests. Whether it's the immigrant/second-generation experience, the Indian-American experience, familial intricacies, or, simply the joy of reading a well-crafted story."
Lahiri's debut collection of stories, "Interpreter of Maladies," was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award and The New Yorker Debut of the Year. Her novel, "The Namesake," was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and was made into a popular film. Her latest collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.