Shah Tazrian Ashrafi

6 UK small presses that consider unsolicited submissions

This means you can submit a manuscript on your own, without a literary agent.

A fellowship of humanity and the wild

Martell’s narrative journalism is a lesson for those in the field as to how a writer can instil empathy for the others around. The reader can taste affection for both the animals and humans in his storytelling.

Local publishers, sales, and the 2023 Dhaka Lit Fest

This year a ticketing system was imposed. As such, sales were lower than expected.

Dhaka Lit Fest 2023: What the agent does for writers and actors

Despite the popularity of TV, cinematic rights come with their drawbacks. While it is thrilling for a novelist to have their work taken up by a production house, sometimes their work ends up in a forgotten corner for a long time.

Portrait of a family through an intelligence agent’s eyes

Besides the brilliantly unconventional addition of an Intelligence Agent as the main audience, the story’s language, unflinchingly charged with a humorous tone, is enough to keep a reader’s eyes glued to the screen.

Bleak realities in the shadow of China’s rise

In May 2022, Joanna Chiu won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for her debut nonfiction book, China Unbound: A New World Disorder (Hurst, November 2021).

Short Story Review: In “Lucky”, innocent lives encounter destructive politics

For me, the key takeaway from “Lucky” would be the perspective one can gain into living in the shadow of war, which creates around its victims a prison of undying misery.

SHORT STORY OF THE MONTH: The lingering shadows of grief in ‘The Faraway Things’

Lesedi is not “right in the head”. He avoids talking and discards words that do not make sense to him like garbage.

Sahar Mustafah's 'The Beauty of Your Face': In which Muslims are not “radicals”

Too often, the representation of Muslims in arts and culture has been tainted by the shadow of “extremism”.

An island of one’s own

When one begins reading Karen Jennings’ An Island (Picador India, 2021), one might find it hard to believe that an atmospheric novel with such fluid prose initially struggled to find a publisher.

Radhika Singha's 'The Coolie's Great War': The forgotten ones of World War I

As of December 31, 1919, a total of 1.4 million Indians were recruited to various theatres of the First World War. Among them, approximately 563,369 were “followers or non-combatants”.

In ‘Toward Happy Civilization’, a portrait of desperation

Typical of any Samanta Schweblin story from her International Booker-longlisted collection, Mouthful of Birds (OneWorld, 2019), a sense of anxiety is strongly perceptible here, especially through the characters Fi and Pe. One grows afraid of them as they start showing both lovingly caring and Big Brother-like tendencies. What heightens the ominous halo surrounding these two is the hostages’ inability to translate their emotions; why would someone who provides for you not give you a way out?

The terror of living and loving

An 81-year-old woman is strolling about in her farm, reeling from nostalgia, dead leaves crunching under her feet. She is planting newly bloomed flowers in an empty pig pen.

'Murder at the Mushaira': A poet, a murder mystery, and a vivid portrait of 1857 India

In 1857, a wave of uprisings sparked through India in a bid to overthrow the British rulers. The Sepoy Mutiny was the first time Indian soldiers rose against the British East India Company in the face of corruption and unjust social reforms—including ruthless land taxes that unfairly penalised the working class.

Mentorship opportunity for South Asian writers from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan

A new British Council-funded project, Write Beyond Borders, is set to kickstart its inaugural episode from May-October 2021. The program is designed for “emerging writers” of South Asian background, who can be based anywhere in the UK, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. The deadline for application, which should include a covering letter and a writing sample of no more than 2,000 words, is April 30, 2021.

A miracle in milk

“Once there was a severe flood in the month of Magh.

The unfortunate Asians of Uganda

In the 1890s, many South Asians were brought to Uganda by the British Empire for administration and development purposes.

Encouraging an ethical approach to pet adoption

In 2017, Orni Hasan found a disheveled kitten around Dhanmondi Lake, deciding to keep him. Before the decision, she looked for safe adoption options, but could not find any.

Lyricist Gazi Mazharul Anwar launches book, ‘Olpo Kothar Golpo Gaan’

Olpo Kothar Golpo Gaan includes 200 of these iconic songs.

The heady days of history

I still remember how there was so much commotion around the language issue in East Pakistan right after the 1947 Partition. In 1948, Liaquat Ali Khan brought amendments that sought to make English and Urdu the lingua franca of Pakistan, even though a majority of Pakistan’s population spoke in Bangla.

Where folktales meet social commentary

I stumbled across a short story written by Aoko Matsuda called “Quite a Catch” in the Wasafiri literary magazine last month.

On the Path to Publishing

Writing a book is a journey. Then, the long and arduous journey to having the book published begins.

The Liberation War: A reading list

In 1971, the people of the then East Pakistan rose up against their military oppressors, firm on their goal to carve out a separate identity for themselves.

“Boi Mela-centric love for books poses obstacles for the publishing industry.”

Minar Mansur, the current director of the National Book Centre (Jatiya Grantha Kendro), was born on July 20, 1960 in the Barlia village of Chittagong.

The Metamorphosis of a Country

The epigraph of The Old Drift (Hogarth Press, 2020), taken from Vigil’s The Aeneid, briefly narrates the story of a diverse civilisation thriving on the banks of Lethe, the river of forgetfulness that “somnolently” drifts past a “populous throng” of spirits.

“What I read in 2020”: Writers Select

We asked some of the prominent writers and academics from Bangladesh about the books they most enjoyed in 2020. Some of them confessed that the year has been too difficult to find much time for reading.

Repulsive, But For A Reason

The mind of ten-year-old Jas—the narrator of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s 2020 International Booker Prize-winning The Discomfort of Evening (Faber Books,

An Ethiopian Story of War

The first Italo-Ethiopian War broke out in 1895, as Italian soldiers marched from Italian Eritrea towards Ethiopia. The Battle of Adwa witnessed Ethiopia’s decisive victory in warding off Italian invaders from its soil.

‘Shuggie Bain’ wins the 2020 Booker prize

Shuggie Bain (Grove Press, 2020) is the story of a young boy living in “working-class” Glasgow in the 1980s.

On Zadie Smith’s Bangladeshi characters

I am not a Bangladeshi immigrant living in a Bangladeshi neighbourhood somewhere in Kilburn, London like Samad Iqbal and his family from White Teeth (Hamish Hamilton, 2000).

Where to find Booker Prize-shortlisted titles in Dhaka

“It’s interesting to realise there are so many female authors out there; there are so many interesting non-white authors out there, giving us different glimpses of the world,” said Emily Wilson, graduate chair of comparative literature and theory at University of Pennsylvania, at the Booker Prize shortlist announcement ceremony on Monday.


As the mangy fingers of fascism grew out of the copper earth,

Humanity, freedom, and magic realism in the face of authoritarian powers in Iran

The novel is told from the perspective of a 13-year-old girl. Bahar died in a fire after her family home—a secular and intellectual space—in Tehran is stormed by fanatics.

The fires of Partition in East Bengal

Three years before Maloy Krishna Dhar’s death, his memoir, Train to India: Memories of Another Bengal (Penguin India, 2009), came out. Born in a sleepy village of Kamalpur in the Bhairab-Mymensingh region next to Meghna and Brahmaputra, Dhar had an illustrious career as a teacher, journalist, intelligence officer, and writer.

Season of the Black Leopard

Black. Glossy in the moonlight. Its white whiskers asserting an implicit, involuntary dominance. Its supple body effortlessly sliding up and down the teak trees that are abundant here. A shadow – a dark emissary of the night – drifting among the plant kingdom like a fugitive.

Wild Wild East

In the 1950s, giddy with the glory of a blood-soaked independence, Bollywood churned out films that were high on “Nehruvian nationalism”.

Education 101: The New Normal?

Freshman year is when students expect to navigate through the untouched terrains of a new environment and educational system. It is also considered a time when academic pressure is the least. However, due to Covid-19, the present and the future look very different for the newly admitted.

On the frontlines: How health-care workers are grappling with the pandemic in Dhaka

“My senior, junior doctors and I need your prayers,” Dr. Shawkat Osman, the C.A. of surgery Unit-5 at DMCH, writes in his Facebook post.

Coronavirus and the politics of xenophobia

Airports beef up security, a ship full of passengers remains quarantined and docked at Yokohama, while racism takes root and flourishes under the shadow of an outbreak.

Where the Bombs Go Off and We Win

We emerged victorious in a burning city of chaos,

An ethical documentation of the Birangona women

In the face of history’s death and patriarchy’s indomitable presence, Leesa Gazi’s Rising Silence comes as an undying beam—one that can stir the nation’s collective psyche and present the realities of “a forgotten genocide” before the current generation (and the ones to come).

Where do leopards go when forests burn?

When fires hold the earth captive and the trees grow alive dancing Like fiery beacons,

Daughters of the sun

Rehana takes hesitant steps towards her house. Her Niqab renders the landscape a transparent shade of black smoke.

The Heron’s lullaby

I glide through the salt wind;

Banning zoos, ‘rewilding’, and tackling climate change

As a six-year-old obsessed and fascinated with the wild, I remember asking my mother once: “How do tigers protect the environment?”

Finding relief in skating

In Dhaka’s Korail slum, futures are made and unmade. It is bloated with vulnerabilities. Lack of basic living conditions, sudden fires,

The Rising Popularity of Climate Fiction

The aforementioned statement by John Muir, a renowned naturalist, inspired the title to a collection of short stories, which presents the nascent realities invited by climate crisis through the windows of literature.

May 25, 2019
May 25, 2019

We are on the verge of welcoming another world

Perhaps, the Pakicetus had metamorphosed into Ambulocetus and then into whales only to be plucked out of their kingdom of waters centuries later.

April 27, 2019
April 27, 2019


Gabriella is a 40-year-old obstetrician-gynaecologist from Australia, a godsend for the violated women spat out by the nine-month

April 16, 2019
April 16, 2019

If I reject your proposal, will you let me live?

Her death has sent out a clarion call. But we don't know how long it'll take for the call to make a veritable change. How long the call will keep blaring in the air. Our hearts remain suffused with questions.

March 28, 2019
March 28, 2019

The one where Jannat sees her namesake

It took not only one but two crows to herald the arrival of death. As they settled themselves, their talons rough against the cool of the wires shooting out like rail tracks in air from the transformer's crown, the transformer seemed to take great offence.

March 23, 2019
March 23, 2019

The 1971 we don’t talk about

According to estimations, around 200,000-400,000 women were tortured and raped by the Pakistani Military and their collaborators

March 22, 2019
March 22, 2019

Monsters on the loose

I still remember one morning in 2006 when we escaped death by an inch, as one of those popular “city” buses struck the rickshaw I was in with my mother and sibling. Had it rolled its wheels a little more, I wouldn't have been able to write an op-ed piece today.

March 14, 2019
March 14, 2019

For the love of killing time

My wisdom tooth pain wouldn't subside at any cost. Helpless and miserable, I discovered the game and went about playing it for hours.

February 25, 2019
February 25, 2019

Flirting with disaster

A major portion of my childhood was spent in Farmgate—my paternal grandmother's place. It was a residential area wedged into the corner of a labyrinth breathing with multi-storey buildings, shops, parlours, salons, warehouses, other settlements, and tall electric transformers.

February 23, 2019
February 23, 2019

The Spirit of the International Mother Language Day

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I were to subscribe to one particular language that didn't have any link with my roots. One particular language, which I didn't know like the back of my hand.

February 20, 2019
February 20, 2019

The abhorrent act of 'generalisation'

Without knowing that it seeks to establish equality, some think that feminism is an aggressive ideology. That it seeks to lay siege to the rights of “men”.