PUP to publish Jhumpa Lahiri’s Translating Myself and Others, essays on literary translation

Executive Editor Anne Savarese at Princeton University Press has acquired North American, UK, and Commonwealth rights, including audio, to Jhumpa Lahiri’s Translating Myself and Others, a collection of essays on translation, self-translation, and writing across languages. Eric Simonoff at William Morris Endeavor oversaw the deal, which is slated to publish in Spring 2022.

Translating Myself and Others will include several essays, both previously unpublished and previously published, that reflect on Lahiri’s experiences with translation, self-translation, and writing across languages.

In the introduction to the book, Lahiri notes, “Translation has transformed my relationship to writing. It shows me how to work with new words, how to experiment with new styles and forms, how to take greater risks, how to structure and layer my sentences in different ways. Reading already exposes me to all this, but translating goes under the skin and shocks the system, such that these new solutions emerge in unexpected and revelatory ways. Translation establishes new rhythms and approaches that cross-pollinate the process of contemplating and crafting my own work. The attention to language that translation demands is moving my writing not only in new directions, but into an increasingly linguistically-focused dimension.”

One essay in Translating Myself and Others uses Lahiri’s teaching of the Echo and Narcissus myth to reflect on the meaning of translation. Another essay describes her decision to translate her own fiction from Italian into English and another addresses the question “Why Italian?”, in which she reflects on what attracts her to writing in the language and the reactions she has received from native speakers. The book will also include a forward-looking essay on Lahiri’s ambition to translate Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

About the Author

Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of numerous acclaimed novels, short stories, and essays in English and Italian, including The Namesake, Unaccustomed Earth, and The Lowland, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award in fiction, and Interpreter of Maladies, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Her essay collection In Altre Parole (In Other Words) was written in Italian, while the author was living in Rome. Lahiri edited, introduced, and contributed selected translations to The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories and has translated several novels by Domenico Starnone, including the National Book Award Finalist Trick and Ties, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and Best Foreign Novel by the Times of London. Lahiri’s novel Dove mi trovo was published in Italian in 2018 and published in English as Whereabouts in 2021. Lahiri continues to write and publish in Italian and translate both her own work and the work of others from Italian to English. She is Director of Princeton University’s Program in Creative Writing.