Jhumpa Lahiri Biography

Jhumpa Lahiri, an American author of Indian origin, is widely recognized as one of the most influential authors of her time. Born in London to Bengali immigrant parents, Lahiri moved to the United States at a young age. Despite considering herself American, her novels and books draw heavily from the experiences of immigrants in the United States. Lahiri’s debut short story collection, ‘Interpreter of Maladies’, won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2000, propelling her to success. She continued to make waves with her first novel, ‘The Namesake’, which was later adapted into a film. Lahiri’s works, including another collection of short stories titled ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ and her second novel ‘The Lowlands’, have garnered critical acclaim and numerous award nominations.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Nilanjana Sudeshna Lahiri
  • Age: 56 Years, 56 Year Old Females
  • Family: Spouse/Ex-: Alberto Vourvoulias, children: Noor Lahiri Vourvoulias, Octavio Vourvoulias
  • Born Country: England
  • Quotes By Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Short Story Writers
  • City: London, England
  • Ancestry: Indian American
  • Notable Alumni: Barnard College, South Kingstown High School
  • More Facts
  • Education: Boston University, Barnard College, South Kingstown High School
  • Awards:
    • 2000 – Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – Interpreter of Maladies
    • 2000 – Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award – Interpreter of Maladies
    • O. Henry Award
    • 2002 – Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts US & Canada
    • 2008 – New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year – Unaccustomed Earth

Childhood & Early Life

Nilanjana Sudeshna Lahiri, better known as Jhumpa Lahiri, was born on 11 July 1967 in London, United Kingdom to Amar Lahiri and his wife Tapati Lahiri. Her family relocated to the United States when she was two. Her father worked as a librarian at the University of Rhode Island. She grew up in Kingston, Rhode Island and graduated from South Kingstown High School.

After graduating from high school, she studied English Literature at Barnard College located in New York, graduating in 1989 and then attained her master’s degree in English from Boston University. She also received an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University and another master’s degree in comparative literature. After attaining her doctorate in the field of Renaissance Studies, she started doing a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Centre located in Provincetown. The fellowship was completed in 1998.


Her work as a writer was initially rejected by a slew of publishers but her very first published work, ‘The Interpreter of Maladies’ which came out in 1999 was a runaway success. It was a collection of short stories which dealt with the lives of immigrants from India and sold more than half a million copies and brought her plenty of accolades from all over the world.

Her first novel ‘The Namesake’ was published in 2003 and like her previous work, it dealt with the trials and tribulations of a Bengali immigrant family in the United States. The book was well received and four years after it was published, celebrated film maker Mira Nair adapted the novel into an eponymous film. Jhumpa Lahiri even appeared in the film in a cameo.

Following the success of ‘The Namesake’, she reverted to short stories and her next book ‘Unaccustomed Earth’, another collection of short stories was published in 2008. The book became a success right away as it claimed the top position in The New York Times best seller list upon its publication.

In 2013, her second novel ‘The Lowland’ was published by Random House and like his previous works it too received critical acclaim from the literary fraternity. The novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and was also long-listed for the National Book Award for Fiction. However, the book failed to win any of the awards.

She has been associated as a short story contributor to the American publication ‘The New Yorker’ for many years. Her non-fiction essay titled ‘Teach Yourself Italian’ was published in ‘The New Yorker’ in 2015. It was an essay based on her own experiences during the time that she spent learning the Italian language and in fact she had actually written the essay in Italian, which was then translated to English for the magazine’s readers.

Major Works

The most important work in her career is without doubt her debut publication ‘The Interpreter of Maladies’. She went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for that particular work and it also marked one of those rare occasions when a short story collection won the prestigious award.

Awards & Achievements

In 2000, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her short story ‘Interpreter of Maladies’. She also won the ‘O. Henry Award’, in 1999, and ‘The New Yorker’s Best Debut’, in 2000, for her short story ‘Interpreter of Maladies’.

Personal Life & Legacy

She got married to TIME Latin America journalist Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush in 2001. They have two sons named Octavio and Noor. She presently lives with her family in Rome, Italy.

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