Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri recently visited Bryn Mawr's campus to talk to students about editing The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories.
The event was co-sponsored by the Departments of Italian and Comparative Literature, and the Creative Writing Program. The discussion was led by Assistant Professor of Italian Studies Alessandro Giammei, who has been teaching an Emily Balch Seminar on short stories that's based almost entirely on the works in the collection.
Lahiri is one of the most important voices of American literature. Her debut book, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000; her first novel, The Namesake, became an instant classic; and all her subsequent works gained both critical and popular praise. In recent years, Lahiri fell in love with the Italian language, and started reading and writing only in Italian: a practice of estrangement and linguistic passion that gave birth to an auto-fiction memoir, a number of essays and stories, a book on book covers, and the novel Dove mi trovo (2018).
The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories features new versions of canonical texts along with first translations of lesser-known literary gems. The collection offers a divergent perspective on Italian culture and literature at large; it also celebrates the act of discovering and engaging with a foreign tradition through reading.