Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London in in 1967. Her parents were from West Bengal. The family moved to Rhode Island when she was two. Her father worked as a librarian at the University of Rhode Island. As with Gogol and Sonia in The Namesake the family frequently visited Kolkata, to maintain their Bengali links. Also, like Gogol, her pet name of Jhumpa was used at elementary school instead of her proper name. (Bengalis traditionally have a proper name, i.e. an official, documented name, and a pet name, i.e. one used by family and close friends, which does not appear in formal documents.) She took a B.A. in English literature from Barnard College, before going to Boston University where she took several degrees, including a Ph. D. in Renaissance Studies. She has since taught creative writing at Boston University and the Rhode Island School of Design. She now lives in Rome with her husband and their two children. She has published two novels and two books of short stories.