Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London, England on July 11, 1967. She received a B.A. in English literature from Barnard College in 1989, and later received a M.A. in English, a M.A. in Creative Writing, a M.A. in Comparative Studies in Literature and the Arts, and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies from Boston University. Lahiri taught creative writing at Boston University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Her debut work, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000. She has also won the PEN/Hemmingway Award, an O. Henry Award, The New Yorker's best debut of the year award, and an Addison Metcalf award. Her other works include The Namesake, which was made into a movie in 2007, Unaccustomed Earth and The Lowland which was nominated for both a National Book Award and The Man Booker Award in 2013. Lahiri primarily writes about Indian immigrants in America who must navigate between the cultural values of their birthplace and their adopted home.
R. K. Narayan was born on October 10, 1906 in Madras, Brtitsh India. He graduated from Maharaja College of Mysore with a B.A. degree in 1930. All of his many novels take place in Malgudi, an imaginary town in southern India that serves as a kind of "golden mean", neither a large, impersonal city nor an obscure, isolated village, through which Narayan explores the dilemmas of modernization. For example, The Bachelor of Arts is the story of a sensitive youth caught in a conflict between Western ideas of love and marriage instilled in him by his education and the still-traditional milieu in which he lives. Malgudi is a microcosm of modern India, and throughout Narayan's novels, which span more than 50 years of India's growth, we can watch Malgudi's inhabitants evolve in precisely the same way that their hometown does. Narayan's wit and literary skill have made him a favorite with readers all over the world. He died of typhoid in 1939.
Michael Gorra teaches English at Smith College. His books include After Empire, The Bells in Their Silence, and, as editor, the Norton Critical Edition of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.