Renowned painter Syed Iqbal is a self-taught artist who has been living and working in Canada since 2002. Being an avid writer as well, the artist began his writing career with Kushol Ar Mrityu Buro (1978), a book for children published under the banner of Shishu Academy. Over the past four decades, he has published a number of novels and short story collections. He has also illustrated many children's books. His 36th book, Meye Tumi Zanjibar Toronto, was released at the Ekushey Boi Mela 2020, recently.
The novel, published by The Royal Publishers, is based on the love story of Shubodh Kumar Das, a Bangladeshi currently seeking political asylum in Canada, and Farah (Sarah), a Lebanese illegal immigrant who works as a dancer in Zanji Bar, located in downtown Toronto. "The character of Shubodh is presented in a parallel dimension to the meaning of his name, 'shubodh'—the sense of goodness," mentions Syed iqbal. "With their families' responsibilities burdening their lives, both the characters are also undergoing existential crisis in a foreign land."
Grounded on his experience of migration and displacement, Syed Iqbal draws inspirations for his stories from real life characters. "I mostly prefer to show two different cultures merging together in my work as I want to show Bangladeshi characters interacting with foreign cultures," adds the writer who has also designed the book cover for this publication. "Many of my other novels, including I Love New York, also shows how two different characters, hailing from different parts of the world, come together and develop an emotional and intimate bond of love."
The writer pays frequent visit to the Ekushey Boi Mela to meet and greet his readers. Meye Tumi Zanjibar Toronto is available at stalls 411 to 414, for BDT 105 (under a special Ekushey Boi Mela discount of 25 percent and a 10 percent Bikash cashback offer), at the Ekushey Boi Mela 2020.