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Join us in welcoming Jhumpa Lahiri as the new Director of Creative Writing in the Barnard English Department. Her new short story collection, Roman Stories, explores Rome—metropolis and monument, suspended between past and future, multi-faceted and metaphysical—as protagonist, not setting. Brief introductions by Konstantina Zanou, Columbia Italian Department and Ken Chen, Barnard English. Lahiri will discuss her new collection with novelist Brandon Taylor, author of Real Life, a Booker Prize finalist.
Written originally in Italian and translated by Lahiri and Todd Portnowitz, Roman Stories explores Italy’s capital in all of its social and cultural variegations, filled with the tensions of a changing city: visibility and invisibility, random acts of aggression, the challenge of straddling worlds and cultures, and the meaning of home. As Kirkus writes in a starred review, “Filled with intelligence and sorrow, these sharply drawn glimpses of Roman lives create an impressively unified effect.”
Jhumpa Lahiri is the Millicent C. McIntosh Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Barnard College. She received the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Interpreter of Maladies, her debut story collection. Other books include The Namesake, Unaccustomed Earth, and The Lowland, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and National Book Award, and the essay collection, Translating Myself and Others. Since 2015, Lahiri has been writing fiction, essays, and poetry in Italian: In Altre Parole (In Other Words), Il Vestito dei libri (The Clothing of Books), Dove mi trovo (self-translated as Whereabouts), Il quaderno di Nerina, and Racconti romani. The translator of three novels by Domenico Starnone and editor of The Penguin Classics Book of Italian Short Stories, Lahiri received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama and was named Commendatore of the Italian Republic by President Sergio Mattarella.
Brandon Taylor is the author of the novels The Late Americans and Real Life, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, and named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a Science + Literature Selected Title by the National Book Foundation. His collection Filthy Animals, a national bestseller, was awarded The Story Prize and shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. He was the 2022-2023 Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
Cosponsored by the Creative Writing Program of the Barnard English Department, the Columbia Italian Department, and the Italian Academy.