JCU is Honored to Welcome Acclaimed Novelist Jhumpa Lahiri

 left: President Pavoncello, George Minot, Jhumpa Lahiri, Carlos Dews

Left to right: President Pavoncello, George Minot, Jhumpa Lahiri, Carlos Dews

John Cabot University had the honor of welcoming author Jhumpa Lahiri, whose acclaimed novel The Namesake is the focus of this year’s Italy Reads program, JCU’s community-based English language reading and cultural exchange program. Ms. Lahiri delivered the Italy Reads 2013 keynote address on November 6th, 2013.

With the support of the US embassy in Rome, Italy Reads has focused on a number of classic American works since its foundation in 2009, including Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Thorton Wilder’s Our Town, Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Beginning her address in Italian, Lahiri described Italy Reads as “a beautiful link between Italian and American literature,” saying that the “rare and precious opportunity to read a book together creates a beautiful sense of community and dialogue.”

Lahiri read excerpts from The Namesake before discussing her book with Prof. George Minot and Prof. Carlos Dews.

Read the article in Wanted in Rome

Ms Lahiri received the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Interpreter of Maladies, her debut story collection that explores issues of love and identity among immigrants and cultural transplants. Her novel The Namesake expands on the perplexities of the immigrant experience and the search for identity.

Born in London, Lahiri moved to Rhode Island as a young child with her Bengali parents. Her abilities to convey cultural conflicts in the most immediate fashion and to achieve the voices of many different characters are among the unique qualities that have captured the attention of a wide audience.

Alongside the Pulitzer Prize, Jhumpa Lahiri also won the PEN/Hemingway Award, an O. Henry Prize (for the short story “Interpreter of Maladies”), the Addison Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Vallombrosa Von Rezzori Prize and the Asian American Literary Award. Lahiri was also granted a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002 and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 2006. Ms. Lahiri’s new novel The Lowland was recently placed on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize.

Learn more about the Italy Reads program at John Cabot University in Rome.

Ms. Lahiri will be holding a reading from her recent novel The Lowland on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at JCU.