NEA Big Read
The Namesake

The Namesake

by Jhumpa Lahiri

That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.

Jhumpa Lahiri. Photo by Elena Seibert.

Lillian Faderman is an internationally known scholar of ethnic and lesbian history and an acclaimed memoirist. She is the recipient of the American Association of University Women's National Distinguished Scholar Award, among other honors. She is the author of many books, including My Mother's Wars (2013), Naked in the Promised Land (2003), I Begin My Life All Over (1998), Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers (1991) and The Gay Revolution (2015).

Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer has released 16 albums, including Accelerando (2012) and Tirtha (2011), a jazz-informed reflection on the contemporary Indian diaspora. The recipient of an unprecedented five awards in DownBeat International Critics Poll in 2012, including Jazz Artist of the Year, Iyer's other 2012 awards include the Jazz Journalists Association's Pianist of the Year award and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.

Jhumpa Lahiri is the recipient of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (the first Indian-American woman to receive this award) and the PEN/Hemingway Award for the year's best fiction debut for her first collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies. In 2003, she published The Namesake, followed by a second collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth (2008), The Lowland (2013) and In Other Words (2016).

Actor Kal Penn's credits include Mira Nair's film The Namesake, the Harold & Kumar franchise, and the critically acclaimed television series House. Penn has also served as an associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and as an adjunct professor of cinema, sociology, and Asian American studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Josephine Reed is media producer at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). She has been program director of the book and contemporary theater channel at XM Satellite Radio and a longtime producer and host of a literary public radio show heard in the Washington, DC, area.

Manil Suri, a native of Mumbai, is a professor of mathematics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is the author of The City of Devi (2013), The Age of Shiva (2009), and The Death of Vishnu (2008), a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award.

Deborah Treisman is the fiction editor of The New Yorker, where she has worked since 1997, and the creator and host of the award-winning New Yorker Fiction Podcast. She is the editor of the anthology 20 Under 40: Stories from The New Yorker (2010).

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