September 2015 \ Awards \ Diaspora Literature
Obama honours Jhumpa

  • President Barack Obama awards the 2014 National Humanities Medal to author Jhumpa Lahiri of New York, during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, September 10, 2015

 President Barack Obama presented the 2014 National Medals of Arts and Humanities to Pulitzer Prize winning Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri and 20 other distinguished persons at a White House ceremony.

“I always do good with writers and scientists. Those are my crew,” said the president in a grey suit and violet tie as he addressed the audience starting with a quote from Emily Dickinson followed by his own joke on the political class.

“One of our great poets, Emily Dickinson, once said that ‘truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it.’ The truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it—and that’s especially true in Washington,” he said amid laughter.

“The men and women that we honour today, recipients of the National Medals for the Arts and the Humanities, are here not only because they’ve shared rare truths, often about their own experience, but because they’ve told rare truths about the common experiences that we have as Americans and as human beings,” Obama said. “They span mediums and methods. We have artists, actors, writers, musicians, historians, a landscape architect, and a chef,” he said.

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