Kolkata, Jan 23: Stating that she doesn’t write for a specific audience, Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri Thursday asserted short stories are in no way “inferior” to novels and instead are “powerful” literary forms.
The Indian-American writer has achieved acclaim in both the genres.
Lahiri’s debut short story collection, “Interpreter of Maladies” (1999), won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and her first novel novel “The Namesake” (2003), was adapted onto the screen.
“I don’t like the idea of short stories being inferior…they are in not in any way diminutive. Most of the literary works that have inspired me are short stories…they can have a powerful impact,” she said during the curtain raiser of the third edition of the Kolkata Literary Meet (Kalam) that begins here Saturday.
The 46-year-old, who has recently relocated to Italy from the US, where she once lived, wondered whether her American upbringing contributed to her literary pursuits.
“I sometimes wonder if I hadn’t lived in America, would I still be a writer? It (the country) has its faults but there are remarkable qualities too. Its a country in progress,” Lahiri said, adding that Italy is much similar to India.
“I have been influenced 99.9 percent by English and American writers writing in the English language,” she admitted.
She expressed gratitude to English author Thomas Hardy, one of her inspirations, for brilliantly essaying the sense of space and the people in it. Reading Hardy’s works helped her in penning her second novel “The Lowland” in 2013.
“I am deeply indebted to Hardy…how he shaped the idea of space, the comings and goings of people etc.”