English writing in Bangladesh, especially fiction, was usually considered as something which only a few selected people practiced and knew about. When more and more quality materials were coming out each year from other neighbouring countries i.e. India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Bangladeshi writers, except a very few, failed to produce any remarkable work that would receive international attention. But this scenario started to change with the arrival of the Dhaka Hay Festival in 2011.
The way the 'Ekushey Boi Mela' has become a platform for Bengali writers over the years, an opportunity for which publishers wait in order to highlight their publications, this year's Hay will serve the same purpose for the English writers of the country. The publication wing of The Daily Star, Daily Star Books, which began its journey previous year, is going to launch three works of fiction by some of the most talented authors writing in Bangladesh today. The first one is a collection of short stories titled 'The Merman's Prayer and Other Stories' by Syed Manzoorul Islam. The writer is famed for his stories in Bangla, and the book is his first work of fiction written in English. The other two books are also short story anthologies by Sharbari Ahmed and Farah Ghuznavi.
Two new publishing houses, Bengal Publication and Bengal Lights Books, are going to be launched at this year's Hay. Bengal Lights Books will bring out a translation of selected stories by Hasan Azizul Haque, the literary giant of the country. It will also publish Kaiser Haq's new chap book, and Ahsan Akbar's The Devil's Thumbprint.
UPL is going to publish Sadaf Saaz's debut poetry collection 'Sari Reams'. Drik Publication will bring out Rahnuma Ahmed's book 'Tortured Truths'. Bangla Academy itself will publish Syed Waliullah's 'The Ugly Indian'; Mermaid art will bring out a book by Rony Ahmed. Apart from these, Qyayum Khan's memoir, Enam ul Hoque and Ihtisham Kabir 's books on birds and flowers will also be launched.
The prestigious literature journal, The Six Season Reviews which has been revived recently will also be launched at the Hay.
The writer is an aspiring writer. She has a master's in English Literature from The University of Dhaka.