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Jhumpa Lahiri


Jhumpa Lahiri, 15 April 2009.

Jhumpa Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000, a Guggenheim fellowship in 2002, and numerous other awards and accolades. Her books include two collections of short stories (Interpreter of Maladies, 1999) and Unaccustomed Earth, 2008), as well as the novel The Namesake, 2003. Reviewing Unaccustomed Earth, the New York Times declared, “[Lahiri] deftly explicates the emotional arithmetic of her characters’ families . . . showing how some of the children learn to sidestep, even defy, their parents’ wishes…. [a tale that] concludes not with a fairy-tale happy ending but with a denouement that speaks of missed opportunities and avoidable grief. . . . an ending that possesses the elegiac and haunting power of tragedy—a testament to Lahiri’s emotional wisdom and consummate artistry as a writer.” She read and then was interviews by Peter Stein in Santa Fe for the Lannan Foundation’s Readings and Conversations series (click here for the podcast).

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T.C. Boyle

TC Boyle (a.k.a. T. Coraghessan Boyle) came to Santa Fe for a Lannan reading in May 2006. Michael Silverblatt, of Bookworm fame, interviewed him. Boyle is a fabulous writer and quite a character. “T.C. Boyle seems to enjoy taking up big social questions,” says NPR’s Robert Siegel, adding that the characters in his latest book, “play out the search for a balance between humans and the rest of the natural world.” I photographed Boyle looking out the window at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe before he went onstage. Check out the podcast of the reading and conversation.


T.C. Boyle, 10 May 2006

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Prints in process for the Lannan Foundation

I’m working on a set of 50 large (16×20) prints of photographs I’ve taken at the Lannan Readings and Conversations events. I have backstage head shots for about 120 events now. The foundation plans to have a show this fall to celebrate the long run of this fabulous series in Santa Fe. I’ll post prints in process here on my website as I progress. This is one I just printed, of Arundhati Roy, taken during her most recent visit here, in March, 2010, with Avi Lewis. (click here to listen to the podcast)


Arundhati Roy, March 24, 2010

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Lydia Davis reads at the Lensic

On Wednesday night, the Lannan Foundation hosted writer Lydia Davis at the Lensic theater as part of the Readings and Conversations series. (I’ve been photographing the series for something like 14 years.) Lannan podcasts the readings at, and this one is well worth a listen. Lydia Davis writes short stories (sometimes very short, only a line or two) that will make you laugh, and we all need more of that in our lives. She’s brilliant. (Check out this book review in The New Yorker, October, 2009: “Songs of Myself: Lydia Davis’s very short stories.”) Writer Ben Marcus (a fabulous writer himself, with a new book out this year, The Flame Alphabet), in his third appearance in the Readings and Conversation series, interviewed Lydia after her reading, and their conversation is included in the podcast (it should be up in a few days).

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A great passing

The Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes died yesterday. He was 83. I had the privilege of meeting Fuentes in 2001, when he came to Santa Fe to do a Lannan reading. It was September 13, just after the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Center. Fuentes couldn’t get a flight into the U.S. and so drove to get here for the event. It was a memorable time. Fuentes gave a powerful talk at a poignant moment that touched on politics and writing. He was an extraordinary writer, “one of Latin America’s best-known authors and a sharp critic of governments in Mexico and the United States,” as Reuters puts it. It was a privilege for me to meet him and spend considerable time chatting with him backstage before his talk. I told him of my history in Chimayó. When I mentioned the names of some of my ancestors, he took out a notebook and said, “You don’t hear those names anymore in Mexico. They’re from the old country. I’m going to use them in my next novel.”

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A lot of newness

Welcome to my new website, updated and revised by web meister Ian McAbee. The change may appear subtle, and that’s the intent, but it will be easier to work with and use (and it allows me to make posts like this). And the change is timely because it coincides with another small but significant change:  …read more →

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I spent last weekend (May 12-13) at the Vallecitos Mountain Ranch, attending a board meeting (I’ve been a board member for a few years). There was little time for hiking, but we did manage to get out in the rain to walk up the river, where I took some photographs. The ranch is stunning this time of year, with aspen leaves just emerging and song birds arriving in droves, along with a few Canada geese. It was great to visit the ranch and really charged me up for the retreat I’m co-leading there in a couple of weeks, “The Wisdom of No Technology,” a chance to spend time at the ranch without fussing around with camera equipment. It will be a challenge well rewarded. There’s still space in the retreat for a few more people ready for a break from it all, to go to the woods to “see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived,” to quote Henry David Thoreau.


Boulder in Vallecitos River

Boulder in Vallecitos River (copyright Don J. Usner)


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