Barack Obama, it seems that, has developed a well-deserving admiration for Indo-American author Jumpa Lahiri’s work as it is reported that during his vacations last summer at Martha’s Vineyard he happened to have read her brilliant work, The Lowland. Now, following up on the adulation thus developed, Obama has included Ms. Lahiri in a hallowed list of individuals awarded with the White House’s annual National Medal of Arts and National Humanities medal.
The citation that the President will read at next week’s presentation ceremony, which will be attended by the First Lady as well, will commend Ms. Lahiri, Pulitzer Prize winning author, for “enlarging the human story,” noting, “In her works of fiction, Dr. Lahiri has illuminated the Indian-American experience in beautifully wrought narratives of estrangement and belonging.”
Ms. Lahiri’s novel, whose premise was described by The New York Times as “startlingly operatic,” is a tale of two brothers growing up in Calcutta in the 1960s, of whom one is killed, and the other marries his pregnant widow and moves to the U.S.
Along with Ms. Lahiri, others honoured by the White House include actress Sally Field and author Stephen King.
The medal is awarded in separate categories for humanities and the arts by respective National Endowments established by the U.S. Congress in 1965, and to date they have awarded more than $5 billion to “support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities,” the White House noted.
Ms. Lahiri’s other prominent works include ‘The Namesake’, ‘Interpreter of Maladies’ and ‘Unaccustomed Earth’.