Jhumpa Lahiri rejoins Barnard College as professor

She will teach a course on exophonic women writers, and another on the art and craft of the diary as a literary form, this semester.

Jhumpa Lahiri / Image-Barnard College/Columbia University

Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri, an alumna of Columbia University’s Barnard College, will return to her alma mater for the second year in a row, as the Millicent C. McIntosh Professor of English and director of the creative writing program.

 The Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama recently spoke with Columbia News about her return to Barnard and opinions on writing, reading, and literary translation. 

From 2015 until 2022, Lahiri was a creative writing professor at Princeton University. Three decades after graduating, it was reported in April 2022 that she will return to Barnard as a professor. She characterized her return to academia as “both comforting and bewildering.” 

According to her the homecoming is “personally meaningful” because her daughter Noor Lahiri Vourvoulias will be a first-year student at Barnard and her son Octavio Vourvoulias will be a senior at Columbia. This semester, Lahiri will offer a course on exophonic women authors and another on the art and technique of the diary as a literary genre. 

When asked if there was any overlap between teaching and writing during the interview, Lahiri replied, “I have managed to work on translation projects and teach at the same time. I learn a great deal from my students, and I like to learn alongside them in the classroom. Writing my own stories requires more silence and detachment, generally.” 

Speaking of her current projects, Lahiri said she is working on the English translation of Roman stories, a collection of short stories she first wrote in Italian. It will be published in October 2023. She is also co-translating Ovid’s Metamorphoses with her former Princeton colleague. 









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