Jhumpa Lahiri: Biography

Jhumpa Lahiri

11 jul 1967

Jhumpa Lahiri is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Interpreter of Maladies. She was born in London, England in 1967 to parents who were first generation immigrants from West Bengal, India. She and her family moved to Rhode Island when she was just two years old. Although she was not born in the United States, she is a naturalized citizen and considers herself to be Indian American.

Although Lahiri was named Nilanjana Sudeshna by her parents, she has been known as Jhumpa since she was a small girl. She has spoken about how embarrassed she felt when people were unable to pronounce her real name, and this is the inspiration behind the sentiments of her character Gogol in her book The Namesake, when he feels complete ambivalence towards his own name.

Lahiri studied English Literature at Barnard College, graduating with a BA in 1989. She then attended Boston University, obtaining 3 MAs and a PhD. She has also taught creative writing both in Boston and at the Rhode Island School of Design. Lahiri had been sending short stories to publishers for years before she was finally published. It was worth persisting as her debut collection of short stories won a Pulitzer Prize in the year after its publication.

Jhumpa Lahiri married Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush in 2001. He works as a senior editor for TIME Magazine in Latin America. Lahiri no longer lives in the United States, but has since emigrated to Rome, Italy where she lives with her husband and two children.