Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and moved to Rhode Island as a young child with her Bengali parents. Although they have lived in the United States for more than thirty years, Lahiri observes that her parents retain “a sense of emotional exile” and Lahiri herself grew up with “conflicting expectations…to be Indian by Indians and American by Americans.” Lahiri’s abilities to convey the oldest cultural conflicts in the most immediate fashion and to achieve the voices of many different characters are among the unique qualities that have captured the attention of a wide audience. Lahiri received the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Interpreter of Maladies, her debut story collection that explores issues of love and identity among immigrants and cultural transplants. Her novel The Namesake, also published to great acclaim, expands on the perplexities of the immigrant experience. Her newest book, The Lowland, is a story of brothers born just fifteen months apart but opposite in nearly every way. Set in both India and America, the powerful story weaves together political and personal histories.
Peter L. Stein is a San Francisco-based arts producer and a Peabody Award-winning documentary maker. He spent 11 years as Executive Producer at PBS station KQED and was Executive Director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the oldest and largest of its kind in the world. He now writes and produces film, media and performing arts projects, and is a frequent onstage interviewer and film presenter.