Jhumpa Lahiri on Her Journey as an Author | Conversations with Tyler

Jhumpa Lahiri on Her Journey as an Author | Conversations with Tyler


AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you — firstly
my compliments to both of you for such wonderful conversation. My question is related to the
journey of an author. Do you think, compared to when you began writing, do you feel more
inhibited or uninhibited as an author now? And what brings that about?
LAHIRI: Well, writing always scares me and intimidates me. I’ve always felt that, and
if I ever stopped feeling that, I probably shouldn’t write anymore. Now there’s a
formal challenge of writing in a language that I don’t have full control of. So that’s
intimidating and very daunting. I was talking to a group of students before
this larger conversation about how even in English I started out with that same trepidation.
And I don’t want to lose touch with that unease, because I think that’s important.
It’s important to approach in that way, at least for me, to not feel totally comfortable,
and certainly not to feel confident because it’s really more about an investigation,
an experiment, a challenge. These things cannot be undertaken in the spirit
of, “Sure, I can do that.” You have to question it at every step, and you have to
question what you’re doing and how you’re doing it and why you’re doing it. I believe
that that’s very important.

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