A festive Friday thanks to Gulshan Society Book Fair
Gulshan Society Book Fair 3 is taking place from March 9 to 11 at Gulshan Society Lake Park, Gulshan 2.
Organised by Shayaan Seraj, the Convener of Gulshan Society, the fair includes book stalls by The University Press Limited (UPL), Bookworm Bangladesh, Baatighar, Prothoma, Nymphea Publications, among others.
"This is the third time we are taking part in the event. To be honest, we really are not evaluating the benefits of coming here only in terms of the amount of sales we are having, as such events allow us to reach a wider audience. We are receiving positive reactions from the crowd and it has met our expectations", commented Muna Rahman, who is the Senior Executive at Bengal Boi.
"Compared to the last two years, this year's volume of crowd is a bit larger; they have also tried to introduce local elements in the stall decorations and it has been much more well organised", he added.
On the second day of the event, readers were treated to short story, poetry and creative nonfiction readings by Tashfia Ahamed, Sumaya Mashrufa, and Kazi Mahdi Amin, regular contributors of Daily Star Books and Star Literature. The session was moderated by Sarah Anjum Bari, Books & Literary Editor of The Daily Star.
This was followed by a poetry reading session hosted by eminent writer Sudeep Chakravarti, where Professor Kaiser Haq recited his longest poem ever written, "The New Frontier", which deals with themes of climate change and its possible impacts on the Global South. The session also saw Sadaf Saaz, the Director, Co-Founder and Producer of Dhaka Lit Fest, recite her poems about women's rights and the Rana Plaza incident. It ended with Professor Kaiser Haq's recitation of his poem "How Many Buddhas Can They Destroy", which was written after the 2012 Ramu communal violence.
While speaking to the Daily Star Books, Sadaf Saaz shared: "It was a great opportunity to come and share my poetry here. Poetry being read at different places all over Dhaka is very exciting as it is an important part of our history. So being able to use this place for it was very exciting and satisfying."
Speaking about how the event has evolved over the past three years, Shayaan Seraj said, "I think each year the event is getting bigger and bigger. The demographics here are from all ages: from younger and more youthful ones, including toddlers and babies, to new parents and people from the older generation. That's the beautiful thing."
"It's also a combination of different languages—English and Bangla—even the Chinese Embassy is taking part in it through a stall this year", he noted.
Talking to the Daily Star Books, Nabiha Wasimat Khan, an eighth grade student at Sunbeams School and author of the book Dearest, you made it! said, "The crowd here is amazing as always; the people are very nice and supportive. We have all the book stalls and the food stalls, which makes it a great place to hangout. In Dhaka, right now, there really aren't many open spaces, apart from restaurants, where you can do that. Since the community is coming together and organising such book fairs, it is really good for our generation, as we are able to come here in the open space, interact and spend time."
Sessions by other eminent poets, academics, and writers also took place over the first two days of the event, including those by Professor Niaz Zaman, Farah Ghuznavi, and Shazia Omar. The event also included musical performances by school children and jazz bands.
Tomorrow, the Department of English and Humanities at ULAB will also be conducting a discussion on whether creative writing can be taught in classrooms.
Hrishik Roy is an intern at Daily Star Books and a contributor at SHOUT. Reach out to him at [email protected].