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Fareed Zakaria, India Abroad Person of Year

March 21, 2009
Zubin Mehta is an impossible act to follow, yet a quiet achiever followed him with grace, poise and elan. Jhumpa Lahiri's evocative writing is no secret to the literate ever since her debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2000.

Lahiri raised her own bar with her follow up, the 2003 saga The Namesake [Images ] that became an instant bestseller, and was transformed by filmmaker Mira Nair into a critically acclaimed film.

Just when you thought the bar had been raised as high as humanly possible, Jhumpa Lahiri went one better. In 2008, she published her second short story collection, Unaccustomed Earth, a book that dramatically demonstrated how well the author combined literary excellence with commercial clout, when in unprecedented fashion it debuted at the number one position on The New York Times Bestseller List.

For the rare skill she harnesses to distill the hyphenated life of the immigrant and render it in crystal prose, India Abroad honoured Jhumpa Lahiri -- born Nilanjana Sudeshna -- with the Publisher's Special Award for Excellence.

And finally, to put a final seal of excellence on a vintage year for community achievement, Fareed Zakaria strode on stage to accept the 2008 India Abroad Person of the Year Award with a speech of characteristic eloquence.

Video: Jhumpa Lahiri gets the India Abroad Publishers Special Award for Excellence
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