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Author Jhumpa Lahiri
"I really never felt that I left India"
 real 28k

Thursday, 13 April, 2000, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Pulitzer for Bengali-American writer

At 32 Jhumpa Lahiri is one of the youngest winners
By South Asia correspondent Aasiya Lodhi

A Bengali-American writer, Jhumpa Lahiri, has won this year's Pulitzer Prize for Literature.

She was awarded the prize for her debut work, Interpreter of Maladies, a collection of short stories, which reflects on life in the United States and in her parents' native Calcutta.

At the age of 32, she is one of the youngest recipients of the prize and was chosen over many other award winning novelists.

The Pulitzer Prize for Literature is America's leading literary award, and the announcement that this year's winner was a first-time short story writer has surprised many in the US literary establishment.

The prize is usually given to veteran novelists, but Jhumpa Lahiri has beaten off stiff competition this year - from writers such as former Pulitzer winner E Annie Proulx and novelist Ha Jin.

Her debut collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, brings together a series of elliptical narratives, ranging from the east coast US to Calcutta, which deal with themes of exile, memory and loss.

Promising writer

Ms Lahiri, although not born in India, has travelled to Calcutta several times, and says her experiences there have provided a rich creative source for her writing.

She says she still feels a sense of emotional exile in the US, which she has tried to capture in her stories.

Ms Lahiri, who recently won the Pen-Hemingway prize for best first fiction, has received widespread critical acclaim for her short stories, which first appeared in the New Yorker magazine last year.

The magazine named her as one of the 12 most promising young writers in the US.

She is now writing her second book, a novel.

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12 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Vikram Seth tells his story
12 Apr 99 | Americas
Washington Post scoops Pulitzer
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