"For me, the language is everything... What I feel, what I discovered, and what Italy through Italian has given me is another life. It's amazing and life-changing, and I am so grateful for it. I actually don't have words to express how I feel." 

-- Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

7 p.m. Thursday, January 30, 2020
Recital Hall, UAlbany Performing Arts Center, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany. 
See map
Free and open to the public.
Conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue 

One of the best-loved fiction writers of her generation, renowned for her novels of East Indian American immigrant experience, Jhumpa Lahiri fell completely in love with Italian language and literature beginning in 2012. She now reads exclusively in Italian, and spends half the year in Italy.


She describes her current creative practice and teaching as an effort to “transmit this awe” of Italian authors and their work. She recently edited and published The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories (2019), a landmark collection of short works of fiction— nearly half appearing in English for the first time.

Photo by Liana Miuccio  


My relationship with Italian continues to grow and to complicate my creative and personal life in a series of unexpected ways. It is more of a marriage at this point, something essential and trusted that accompanies me every day."

excerpt from Jack Rightmyer's interview with Jhumpa Lahiri published in the Times Union on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.

During her visit, Lahiri will share her insights into the benefits of immersion in a foreign language for creativity, for broadening perspectives in an increasingly global culture, and for the appreciation of art and life. In her introduction, she says, “Only works in translation can broaden the literary horizon, open doors, break down the wall.”


Following the conversation, there will be a book signing and reception in the theatre lounge.

Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and raised in Rhode Island. Her debut, internationally-bestselling collection, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the PEN/Hemingway Award, The New Yorker Debut of the Year award, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Addison Metcalf Award, and was translated into 29 languages.

Her first novel, The Namesake, was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications.


Her second collection, Unaccustomed Earth, was a #1 New York Times bestseller; named a best book of the year by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, among others; and the recipient of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.

"A writer of uncommon elegance and poise...Lahiri chronicles her characters' lives with both objectivity and compassion." -- Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Shimmering." -- Fresh Air

"Ferociously good...Emotionally precise." -- O, The Oprah Magazine

"Splendid...Lahiri handles her characters without leaving any fingerprints." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Gorgeous...A considerable talent in full bloom." -- San Francisco Chronicle

About "The Creative Life"

Created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC Northeast Public Radio, The Creative Life features leading figures from a variety of artistic disciplines in conversation with WAMC host Joe Donahue about creative inspiration, craft, and career.

Major support for The Creative Life is provided by The University at Albany Foundation, The John D. Picotte Family Foundation and Stewart’s Shops/Dake Family. Additional support is provided from the College of Arts and Sciences,  Office of Intercultural Student Engagement and University Auxiliary Services. 

More information on the Creative Life Series.

NYS Writers Institute

Science Library 320

University at Albany

1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222

(518) 442-5620

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