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April 11, 2000
Jhumpa Lahiri wins Pulitzer
Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies has been awarded the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
The Bengali novelist is perhaps the first Indian to win the prestigious US prize. Also in the final fray were Ha Jin's Waiting and Annie Proulx's Close Range: Wyoming Stories. (Scribner).
The 84th annual awards were announced by the Pulitzer Prize board at Columbia University in New York on Monday.
Lahiri was born in 1967 in London, and grew up in Rhode Island. She has travelled several times to India. Both her parents were born and raised in that country. Her father is a librarian and mother a teacher.
Three of the stories in the award winning book were published in the New Yorker which has recently named her as 'one of the 20 best writers under the age of 40.' The book appeared last year.
Her title story has been selected for the O Henry award for the best American short stories. She was a recipient of the Transatlantic Review award from Henfield Foundation and fiction prize from the Louisville Review, and was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Centre in Provincetown.
She took to writing at an early age, beginning with the school newspaper. She graduated with a BA in English literature from Barnard College.
Lahiri's stories draw richly from her visits to Calcutta. ''It is the place where my parents are from, a place I visited frequently for an extended time and formed relationships with people and with my relatives and felt a tie over time even though it was a sort of parenthesis in my life to be there,'' she had told rediff.com
''My parents never consciously sat down and told me things about India, they sort of correctly assumed that I would learn things just by the virtue of being their child. I think it has always been important to them to maintain strong social ties with Indians living abroad and visiting India,'' she said.
After spending 30 years in the United States, Lahiri says, ''It is home to me but feel a bit of an outsider too.''
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