Literary Birthday – 11 July – Jhumpa Lahiri

Happy Birthday, Jhumpa Lahiri, born 11 July 1967.


  1. The best sentences orient us, like stars in the sky, like landmarks on a trail. They remain the test, whether or not to read something.
  2. That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.
  3. There are so many ways of becoming a writer. It’s not a career track per se; it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. If I look back at my writing career, I realise that it unfolded on sort of a time release basis, and that there was an element of mystery to it. You don’t know when life will throw you something, or you will remember something. For me it wasn’t always a goal-oriented experience. It can be, but some writers develop more slowly.
  4. Go to the library. Make that a fundamental part of who you are.
  5. When I sit down to write, I don’t think about writing about an idea or a given message. I just try to write a story which is hard enough.
  6. The first sentence of a book is a handshake, perhaps an embrace.
  7. The urge to convert experience into a group of words that are in a grammatical relation to one another is the most basic, ongoing impulse of my life.
  8. Fiction is an act of wilfulness, a deliberate effort to reconcile, to rearrange, to reconstitute nothing short of reality itself. Even among the most reluctant and doubtful of writers, this willingfulness must emerge. Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, ‘Listen to me’.
  9. Cultivate a profound passion for reading literature. It all comes from there.

Jhumpa Lahiri is an Indian American author. Lahiri’s debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and her first novel, The Namesake, was adapted into a film of the same name.

Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 11th July 2014