Turkish Embassy Welcomes Writers of “Golden: Bangladesh at 50”


Writers tell their stories at event at embassy premises in Dhaka

Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan hosted a cultural evening on Thursday marking the launch of an anthology of contemporary short stories and poems titled “Golden: Bangladesh at 50”.

Dhaka’s best scholars and diplomats gathered for a lively discussion of art, storytelling, and plural identities, followed by short readings by the authors at the Embassy premises.

The event was organized to mark the launch of “Golden: Bangladesh at 50,” an anthology of contemporary short stories and poems, according to a press release issued by the embassy.

The anthology was curated by author Shazia Omar and published by University Press Limited (UPL).

The collection includes works by published and unpublished writers, some living in Bangladesh, others from the diasporas of New York, Chicago, London, Rome, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Toronto.

In his speech, Mustafa Osman Turan said: “In many ways Turkey and Bangladesh are similar. Our people love music, stories and poetry. We need to explore ways to encourage and support creativity and expression in a big way, because that’s how new ideas are born. We look forward to continuing cultural exchanges with Bangladesh.

Mahrukh Moinuddin, Managing Director of University Press Limited, publisher of the book, said: “I loved the collection and was happy to release it as a gift to readers.

Sabrina Fatma Ahmad, founder of Sehri Tales (you can read or participate in this movement under #sehritales), wrote Fultokka, a story about childhood, bullies, and lessons in empathy. Farah Ghuznavi, editor of the anthology Lifelines (Zubaan Books, 2012), and of a collection of short stories, Fragments of Riversong (Daily Star Books, 2013), and Nadia Kabir Barb, author of Truth or Dare (Bengal Lights 2017) , both also feature stories from childhood and school days, each with different lessons.

Shazia Omar’s own story in the collection is about an arrogant girl who loses her illusions with the workings of society as she faces extreme isolation when the pandemic strikes. Forced to make a choice, she opts for a return to nature, where she finds peace by connecting with universal love.

Shazia has written two novels, Dark Diamond (Bloomsbury, 2016) and Like a Diamond in the Sky (Penguin – Zubaan, 2009). She is currently working on two children’s stories which should be published by Guba Books next year.

One of the poems in the collection, I Don’t Deserve You, by Namira Hossain, depicts the power struggles of a relationship. Namira is an intuitive therapist and professional tarot card reader.

Namira said: “When Shazia asked me to contribute a poem, I told her that I had no history on the War of Independence. She then told me that she wanted stories about what it’s like to be Bangladeshi. This poem reflects the fear many of us have of abandonment and unworthiness. It is only by realizing the power of self-esteem that we can overcome these fears. “

Nahyan Ameen told a story that explores the dynamics of life in Dhaka, where class and status play a role in people’s fate and identity.

Nahyan said: “This is the first time that my writings have been published. It encouraged me to keep writing.

The authors collectively portrayed the problems and realities of Bangladesh as well as its beauty and power. As Shazia says: “Collecting stories and poems is a way to honor all that we have learned, yearned for, found and let go. The stories explore our love and concern for this country.”

Other writers and poets featured in the anthology include Mahmud Rahman, Nadeem Zaman, Sabrina Ahmad, Srabonti Narmeen Ali, Kaiser Haq, Neeman Sobhan, Arif Anwar, Sabahat Jahan, Lubna Mariam, Zeeshan Khan, Nahyan Ameen, Nadia Kabir Barb, Abeer Y Hoque, Shabnam Nadiya, Maria Chaudhuri, MK Aaref, Salahdin Imam, Namira Hossain, Farah Ghuznavi, Munize Manzur and Iffat Nawaz.

Reviews of the book are available on Shazia’s website. The book can be ordered for delivery from University Press Limited or Bookworm.

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