Woman Crush Wednesday: Author Edition #WomanCrushWednesday Jhumpa Lahiri

I don’t know if this is already a thing. If it’s not it should be, so I’m doing it.

Every week on Wednesday, I’ll pick a different female author to showcase. Feel free to make recommendations in the comments.

If you’re an author, and want to be featured, send me a query through my Review Policy page. Just start your query with Woman Crush Wednesday so I know what’s what.


This week’s #WomanCrushWednesday pick: Jhumpa Lahiri


Lahiri was born in London but raised in Rhode Island. Her debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer in 2000, and her first novel, The Namesake, was developed into a film (same name) in 2006.

President Obama appointed her as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 2010.

Lahiri’s awards include:

  • 1999 – PEN/Hemingway Award (Best Fiction Debut of the Year) for “Interpreter of Maladies”
  • 1999 – O. Henry Award for “Interpreter of Maladies”
  • 2000 – The New Yorker’s Best Debut of the Year for “Interpreter of Maladies”
  • 2000 – Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her debut Interpreter of Maladies

In 2012 she moved her whole family to Rome to immerse herself in a language she admires, Italian. “I’ve uprooted myself not only from a physical place but also from a linguistic place,” she says. “This double uprooting is artistic freedom, and it’s dizzying. Once you taste that you can’t give it up.” While in Italy, she wrote a linguistic memoir, In Altre Parole (“In Other Words”); a dual language edition was published February 9, 2016.

In Other Words

In Other Words is at heart a love story—of a long and sometimes difficult courtship, and a passion that verges on obsession: that of a writer for another language. For Jhumpa Lahiri, that love was for Italian, which first captivated and capsized her during a trip to Florence after college. And although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery had always eluded her. So in 2012, seeking full immersion, she decided to move to Rome with her family, for “a trial by fire, a sort of baptism” into a new language and world.

In Rome, Lahiri began to read, and to write—initially in her journal—solely in Italian. In Other Words, an autobiographical work written in Italian, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice. Presented in a dual-language format, it is a book about exile, linguistic and otherwise, written with an intensity and clarity not seen since Nabokov. A startling act of self-reflection and a provocative exploration of belonging and reinvention.

NY Times Review of In Other Words

Her other works include:


Follow Jhumpa Lahiri on Facebook and her website.


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