Jhumpa Lahiri wins prestigious John Florio Prize for translating Domenico Starnone’s ‘Trick’


The Pulitzer prize-winning Indian-origin author Jhumpa Lahiri has added another prestigious feather to her crown by winning the John Florio Prize for translating Domenico Starnone’s 2016 novel, Trick.

The John Florio Prize is a biennial award and constitutes award money of £2,000 (approximately $2700) for English translations of full-length Italian works. The judges this year were Robert Gordon and Rosa Mucignat.

“Jhumpa Lahiri has given us not so much a translation as an English double of Starnone’s humorous, unpredictable and formally sleek novel … Her English is as responsive and as agile as Starnone’s Italian prose,” Mucignat said.

While Lahiri won the John Florio Prize, Jenny McPhee was announced the runner-up for her translation of The Kremlin Ball by Curzio Malaparte.

The John Florio Prize was established in 1963 to honor writer-translator John Florio. The prize is sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute and the Society of Authors.

Besides translating Domenico Starnone’s Trick, she has also published her first novel in Italian called ‘Dove mi trovo’ and has also compiled, edited and translated the Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories which consists of 40 Italian short stories written by 40 different Italian writers.

In April 2021, she is set to release the English translation of her first Italian novel which will be titled as ‘Whereabouts’. The book will be published under the Hamish Hamilton imprint of Penguin Random House and

Speaking on the book, the author said, “I am so grateful to Meru Gokhale and to all at Penguin Random House India for following me on my creative journey and publishing this new novel, born from my love of a new language.”

“Jhumpa Lahiri is that rare writer who can effortlessly evoke the details of time and space with stark, minimal prose, saying so much by saying so little. Her new novel is a true literary event, and we are delighted to publish it,” Meru Gokhale, Publisher, Penguin Press, Penguin Random House India had further said.

About Lahiri’s upcoming book Gokhale said in a statement, “This is a story of a woman protagonist who longs to belong but dares not conform, who is moving through her life in a city that almost becomes her companion. From the sidewalks, parks, and bridges to the pool and the train station that leads her to her grieving mother after her father’s untimely death, she moves through the city, one season after another. Until one day, her perspective changes and the life, as she knows it, is transformed.”

Her debut collection of short stories Interpreter of Maladies which was released in 1999 won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Hemingway Award, and her first novel, The Namesake (2003), was adapted into the popular film of the same name. Her second novel, The Lowland (2013), was a finalist for both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award for Fiction.

In 2014, Lahiri was awarded the National Humanities Medal.[2] She is currently a professor of creative writing at Princeton University.