Sohana Manzoor

Sohana Manzoor is the Editor of the Star Literature page.

Sari - The changing tale of draping

In the current fashion world, the sari, a traditional female garment of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka is all the rage.

Ghosts in Bangla literature and culture

“Bhoot”, the Bangla word for ghost, derives from the Sanskrit word Bhūta, referring to living beings and the past. Later, it also came to mean ‘disembodied spirit.’ Ghost stories carry a special tradition in Bangla literature and the root lies in folklore and rural culture.

Abul Mansur Ahmad (1898- 1979)

A politician and journalist by profession, Abul Mansur Ahmad began his career as a National Congress worker in Bengal.

Disrupted Nature and Community in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) is well-known to the literary audience and beyond as the tale of a brilliant and mad scientist who created a horrible monster that in the end brought destruction for its creator.

The Great Divide that brought them together

While the Partition of 1947 is a chapter that historians are constantly bringing up, one question rarely explored is what does the Partition mean for the Millennials and Gen Zs? How much do our younger generations know of the significance of the Great Divide?


“Bhabi, do you remember Banu?” my paternal aunt Janu phupi asks Amma. We are in the middle of a grand celebration—I am getting married and today is my gaye-holud. My grandmother barks, “Don’t mention that ill-fated girl now. She tricked us all.”

Andrea Levy’s Small Island: Racial Conflict in Postwar Britain and a Commentary on Our World

A daughter of immigrant parents, Andrea Levy wrote mostly on the struggles of Jamaican immigrants in England. Critically acclaimed Small Island (2004) is one of her best-known books and it attempts to visualize the days before, during, and after the Second World War.

The Myth of the Strong Woman

Years ago, when I was about eight-years-old, I heard a teacher say that a woman’s lungs are stronger than a man’s.

Excerpts from Kazi Nazrul Islam’s Hena

I had to come to this dense forest yesterday. I have no clue why we had to fall back. This is the beauty of military life-- the order comes and you have to do it. You can never ask, “Why do I have to do it?”

Parallel Realities, Peripheral Existences: Saikat Majumdar’s The Middle Finger

The intriguing image of a woman’s eye peering through a hole cut into the glossy book jacket suggests that there is more to Saikat Majumdar’s The Middle Finger than meets the eye.

A Conversation with Saikat Majumdar

DS. To some readers the title of your most recent novel The Middle Finger may sound controversial. But as I discovered while reading, it focuses on something very different. Why did you choose this title?

Remembering Prof. Rafiqul Islam

He did not look at me once. His eyes were engrossed in deep thought; to me he seemed to be dipping in the deep waters of memory. Bent with age, he sat at his desk.

Romancing Wuthering Heights

In popular culture, if not in criticism, Wuthering Heights stands as the tale of love lost in betrayal and a grand reunion in the afterworld. The

Kolimoddi Dafadaar

The banks along the river Shitalakshya flooded on a regular basis. During the rainy season, most villages around the area turned into islands.

Silence, a Cross-dresser from Medieval Europe

 I came across Heldris de Cornuälle’s Silence in 2011, a hundred years after its discovery in 1911. Dated to the early

Motherhood and Sylvia Plath’s Three Women

While students of literature are most often advised not to ponder over the personal lives of authors, it is almost impossible to do that in the case of Sylvia Plath.

Obhoy’s Insomnia

An abrupt noise woke Obhoy up in the middle of the night and throughout the rest of the night his eyelids would not shut. What was the matter with him? He had been sound asleep; then suddenly he woke up as if someone was battering at the gate of his senses.

The Puddle-Jumper

It was a hot August afternoon when I stood on the tarmac at the St Louis airport staring at the tiny 7-seater that looked like a toy plane. What? I thought. I would have to get on that? Was this some kind of a joke? Three other passengers were also waiting, but they seemed strangely unperturbed.

Why Doesn’t the Myna Speak?

Solayman rolled off his bed in terror. Twisting his body, he dived under the bed stand and lay flat. His whole body was trembling. The freedom fighters must have surrounded his house!

When women want to study abroad

Last summer, one of my dissertation supervisees approached me as she plans to go abroad for higher studies.

Say “Hello” to the Skunks

“Have you met Mr. Skunk? In case you have not, he is a short black and white fellow that you might often see at the bottom of the stairs, or near the dumpster.” Joe paused for breath.

Substitute Cook

Last November, our elderly maid servant Fatema’s ma who works full-time at our house, wanted to take leave to get her son married. Of course, I agreed immediately. But she would be gone for about two weeks and hence she proposed that her eldest son’s wife might work in her absence.

Sparkling Elizabeth and Timid Anne: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

Readers over the last two centuries have generally liked the bright and sparkling world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, whereas Persuasion has often been described as “a departure from the rest of the novels, a turning away from the brilliant and public play of the mind for the deep and private truths of the heart” (Morgan 168).

When harassment is the norm

Sometime during the pre-lockdown era, I was standing in queue at the Dhanmondi branch of a renowned bank.

Baishakh at the Wake of Covid 19

It all started with someone responding to a Facebook post on Coronavirus—wishing that all the problems would be over before the

Where to?

Some weird things happen sometimes. It was just midday when his mother was done with her cooking. She got up from sitting position with her two hands on her knees and went to sit in the yard to relieve rheumatism in the sunlight. On her way, she called out to her second daughter, “Mitu, serve Milu his lunch. I’ll rest awhile.”

Charlotte Brontë’s Villette: Food for Thought

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is widely read as a classic feminist novel. Published in 1953, Villette, however, still resides in a shadowy region.

Keats and the Elgin Marbles—Message from Parthenon

The classic collection of marble sculptures from Parthenon at the British Museum, commonly known as the Elgin Marbles, has been a vexed source of doubt, appreciation, enthusiasm, disapproval, and envy ever since they were brought to England during 1802-1812.

Dorothy Wordsworth: The Muse of the Lyrical Ballads

It might seem strange to many that the muse of the revolutionary work Lyrical Ballads is no other than Dorothy Wordsworth, the younger sister of William Wordsworth.

Gondal: The Fanciful World of Emily Brontë

I was a student of ninth grade when I first discovered Emily Brontë.

Nights with Nicole

“You gave me such a fright last night! I thought you were dying.”

Searching for One’s Spirit Animal

Many of us have often taken similar tests online. The native Americans believe that from birth to death, there is this animal that guides one through thick and thin. But seriously, do we ever really consider what animal guides us through our lifetime? Are we comfortable

In the Turmeric Fields: The World of Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay

Young Durga of Pother Panchali chanted the rhymes as she wandered amidst the wildernesses of Nischindipur. No, she did not make up the lyrics; they were taught to her by her elderly aunt Indir Thakrun. I myself was very young when I first came across the tale of

Angels and Monsters

One late afternoon, dragging his injured leg Kamal finally stood in front of a particular door of a shanti. For some strange reason, he could not enter the house as he used to even five months ago. He called out in a trembling voice, “Nuru! Where are you, my son? I’m home.”

Memoir of a Serpent Woman

I am Ranire, the serpent woman who lives in the rubbles of Al-Hammar Palace. Yes, you heard right—the accursed and legendary half woman and half snake that wanders in the desert land of Ukh-Tarar.

Mothers and Daughters

Atia crossed over to the window and looked out into the rain-soaked streets. A rickshaw-puller had taken refuge under the mango tree and was huddled in the passenger seat.

A Monsoon Love-Story

That’s it. Aura looked with slit eyes at the blabbering boy sitting across her. What was wrong with him? Every other afternoon he sat with Aura to prattle on his crush. He went on and on about Rimi with a wide-eyed enthusiasm that made Aura’s blood boil. She

Natir Puja: A Tale of Devotion and Sacrifice as Opposed to Jealousy and Tyranny

Quite a few of Rabindranath Tagore’s dance dramas and poems develop around the idea of Buddhist philosophy that induces people to lead a simple life, to gain an understanding of the injustice and inequality prevailing in society, and to acquire knowledge and develop a deeper insight about the universe.

Hunting for Hilsa

My mother told me to get a big Ilish maach for Pohela Baishakh. My face went pale. However much I claimed to love my mother, I had no wish to go to the maachher bazaar.

Touring the Land of the Lake Poets

The picturesque mountainous area in the north-west part of England, commonly known as the Lake District, is a top favorite tourist

London and the Tower of London

In a previous article, I wrote about my visit to Haworth, Yorkshire, home of the Brontë sisters. Now I think that if I don't write about the Big Smoke, I will be leaving out a big part of my experience in England.

A Walk around the Home of Emily Brontë

Around 2014, while working on my dissertation on Emily Brontë, I suddenly realized that it was rather strange that I had never been to Yorkshire.


I was just up from bed; even the sun was not quite high yet. Some shalik birds were quarreling on top of the trees near the backyard gate and I was wondering how to ask mother for the plantain chops that were kept in the shika from last night's dinner.

When Olga Grjasnowa Comes to Dhaka

I met Olga Grjasnowa early this November when she came to a program at ULAB jointly hosted by the University and the Goethe Institute Bangladesh. She had a couple of sessions at the Dhaka Literary Festival too.

Lore of the Woman: The Bird Catcher and Other Stories

A reader can perhaps assume from the back flap of Fayeza Hasanat's debut collection of short stories that the pieces revolve around a woman's position in society, familial relationships and identity that is constructed for her.


It was Ramadan. It was hot. Even though I was sitting inside an air-conditioned car, I could feel the heat. I was dozing and counting minutes and wondering how much time we Dhakites waste everyday in commuting.

Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay and the famine of the fifties

September 12 marks the 124th birth anniversary of author Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, best known for his novel Pother Panchali. This week's In Focus explores how the devastating Famine of the Fifties was reflected in Bibhutibhushan's writings and how he humanised the suffering of the victims of this "man made holocaust".