Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer Jhumpa Lahiri will join the Lewis Center for the Art’s Program in Creative Writing faculty at Princeton University in September 2015. She has been appointed Professor of Creative Writing and will teach workshops in fiction and translation.
Lahiri’s debut collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000, as well as the PEN/Hemingway Award and The New Yorker Debut of the Year. Her most recent novel, The Lowland, published in 2013, was short-listed for both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award for Fiction. Her first novel The Namesake (2003) was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and was selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications, and was adapted into the popular film of the same name. Lahiri’s second collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth (2008), received the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Her work has also appeared frequently in The New Yorker and has been translated into over 30 languages.
Lahiri has been vice president and has served on the board of trustees of the PEN American Center, an organization designed to promote friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers. In February 2010, she was appointed by President Obama as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
Born in London and raised in Rhode Island, Lahiri received her B.A. in English literature from Barnard College and multiple degrees from Boston University including an M.A. in English, M.F.A. in Creative Writing, M.A. in Comparative Literature, and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies. She has taught creative writing at Boston University, Baruch College, Barnard College, The New School, and the Rhode Island School of Design.
“Jhumpa Lahiri is one of our era’s most distinguished writers,” notes Susan Wheeler, Director of the Program in Creative Writing. “She will be a tremendous teacher to our undergraduates, who have the opportunity to study with writers who not only have received National Book Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, and other top fellowships, but are noted for their thoughtful dedication to teaching young writers. We are delighted that students will have the opportunity to study with her, as with all our faculty, in small workshop classes of under ten students and, as seniors, to be mentored one-on-one as they write their equivalent of a first book.”
Members of the Creative Writing faculty include Jeffrey Eugenides, Chang-rae Lee, Paul Muldoon, Joyce Carol Oates, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, Susan Wheeler, and Edmund White, among others. Through the program’s courses, students have the opportunity to pursue original work at both beginning and advanced levels in fiction, poetry, screenwriting and translation under the guidance of these practicing, award-winning writers. Students can earn a certificate in creative writing in addition to their degree in a major. Each year two dozen seniors work individually with a member of the faculty on a creative writing thesis, such as a novel, screenplay, or a collection of short stories, poems, or translations.
Michael Cadden, Chair of the Lewis Center, adds, “It’s thrilling to welcome Jhumpa Lahiri to Princeton’s Lewis Center. Writers of very different kinds universally agree that she is one of the world’s great storytellers. She will add the luster of her work and her considerable teaching skills to what is already the country’s leading undergraduate Program in Creative Writing.”