Jhumpa Lahiri wins Pulitzer Prize  

New York, May 23 (IANS) - Indian American Jhumpa Lahiri accepted her Pulitzer Prize for Fiction at Columbia University on Monday, winning lavish praise for her talent.

At 32, Lahiri "may well be one of the youngest writers to win the Pulitzer for fiction," said Pulitzer Prize Board chairman Edward Seaton.

Lahiri was awarded the prize for 'Interpreter of Maladies', a collection of short stories published with Mariner/Houghton Mifflin. She beat E. Annie Proulx, an acclaimed writer who had also been shortlisted for the Pulitzer.

Lahiri's book has already won the PEN/Hemingway award. At the prize-giving ceremony, both Seaton and Columbia University president George Rupp, who presented the award, said winning the Pulitzer would have the effect of changing "the extraordinarily talented" Lahiri's "life and career."

Rupp said it was notable how many of this year's winners, especially Lahiri, had focussed on "the relationships between men and women." He said her book showed that "the need to connect" was a need that transcended cultures.

Lahiri joined such other notables as C.K. Williams, the Pulitzer Prize-winner for Poetry, and Donald Margulies, the Pulitzer Prize-winner for Drama, in the imposing rotunda of the Columbia Library for a ceremonial lunch before the prize-giving event.

Wearing a red shawl and a black dress, Lahiri was mobbed by press photographers at the table where she sat with her family.