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Books and authors you must check out at the Boimela this year

Tarin Fatema

It’s impossible to live in Bangladesh and not care about Ekushey Boimela. Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela,as it’s officially titled, first started out in 1972 with only 37 books. Needless to say, in the decades that followed, the number of books has grown significantly. Younger me used to read Prothom Alo cover to cover and make a list of books I wanted to buy on my annual day trip to Ekushey Boimela. The adult me without a daily newspaper subscription has fallen off that bandwagon. But where there’s a will, there’s the internet. I reached out to a few Bangladeshi authors on the world wide web to ask about their latest projects and their most anticipated reads. If you know what you’re doing, good for you. But if you’re clueless like me, start here. 

Control, Kalo Odhyay, and Da Vinci Club by Mohammad Nazim Uddin

(Batighar Prokashoni)

Mohammad Nazim Uddin has been the talk of the town for a while now for Hoichoi’s popular web series ‘Robindronath Ekhane Kawkhono Khete Aashenni’ which is based on one of his books by the same name. His specialization in English led him to begin as a translator, eventually he became a big-name thriller writer. His stories have been adapted by Srijit Mukharjee and Chanchal Chowdhury.

Currently, he is working on three books. First, we have ‘Control’, the seventh book in the Beg-Bastard series which has become a cult favorite. It’s expected to be published this year at the Ekushey Boimela 2024. The other two novels are very different from his usual works in terms of content and subject. ‘Kalo Odhyay’, based on real-life events, is a book set in the 1990s involving Dhaka’s underworld. And, ‘Da Vinci Club’, which revolves around an art detective, who may seem quite unfamiliar to his regular readers. The author said he’s been planning to write this story for a long time.

Mohammad Nazim Uddin’s most anticipated reads from Ekushey Boimela 2024: Octarine Jogot: Shobuj, the next installment in the Octarine series by Tanzim Rahman. Abar Aulad Miyar Bhaater Hotel by Niaz Mehedi. Mohammad Nazim Uddin heard through the pipeline that some Bangladeshi publisher will be marketing a collection of Somen Chanda’s writings, he’s looking forward to that as well. He’s also waiting for a few books about the history of Dhaka city.

Ithaca by Zahid Hussain

(Afsar Brothers)

Zahid Hussain, also known as the Dudh-cha Guy on the internet because of his popular work of fiction “Dudh Cha Kheye Toke Guli Kore Debo” which came out in 2019. His works in the genres of surreal and magical realism have received critical acclaim.

Zahid Hussain’s most recent book is called Ithaca. Its story takes place in Bangladesh’s pre-independence period. The protagonist, Barrister Newaz Chowdhury, is a fickle person. He is a bit of an anglophile, and he has a fondness for telephone booths. He and his wife were searching for something prior to the Liberation War. One day, his wife disappeared suddenly. While searching for his wife, Newaz disappears as well. Much later, after Bangladesh became independent, the barrister’s grandson Jayed Chowdhury found clues to the incident. This is where the book commences.

Zahid Hussain’s most anticipated reads from Ekushey Boimela 2024: Zahid Hussain’s list is a bit longer than others. There are two new books by Mashudul Haq this year, Diaspora Blues and Oshorachor, he’s very excited about those two. Then, there’s Muhammad Nazim Uddin’s Kalo Odhyay, Alvi Ahmed’s Ghostwriter, Wasee Ahmed’s Akhteruzzaman Ektu Cha Khete Chan, and Suhan Rizwan’s Mukhosher Din, Brishtyr Raat on his list.

Journey Under The Midnight Sun translated by Salman Haque

(Afsar Brothers and Batighar Prokashoni)

Salman Haque is one of the most prolific modern translators our country has. In addition to other books, he has translated several Japanese fiction titles into Bengali, which have recently become popular on a large scale. His latest work, Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Japanese author Keigo Higashino, portrays the dark side of human characters and shows how evil is not born, but rather created.

Salman Haque’s most anticipated reads from Ekushey Boimela 2024: The book he’s most eagerly anticipating is Ghost Writer by Alvi Ahmed. Octarine Jogot: Shobuj by Tanzim Rahman, Ek Nokkhotrer Niche by Shariful Hasan, Diaspora Blues by Masudul Haque are also on his “must buy” list this year. 

Kothay Gelo Jadukor? by Mahrin Ferdous

(Soisob Publication)

Mahrin Ferdous is a gifted writer of contemporary fiction who is recognized for her surreal narratives, which elicit deep emotions and inspire readers to reflect on the complexities of life. 

Mahrin Ferdous has written a total of 10 books, ranging from novels and short stories. Her latest book, titled Kothay Gelo Jadukor, is her first attempt at children’s literature. She has always had a strong desire to work with children’s literature. Perhaps because this field has always been more or less male-dominated, and as a mother, Mahrin Ferdous believes that a female writer would be better able to get up-close to the children and help them develop their minds and imagination. 

Mahrin Ferdous’s most anticipated reads from Ekushey Boimela 2024: She is always on the lookout for certain authors. She’s looking forward to reading Gopon Rajnitir Golpo, edited and forworded by one of her favorite authors, Imtiar Shamim.

Akhteruzzaman Ektu Cha Khete Chan by Wasee Ahmed Rafi

(Afsar Brothers)

Wasee Ahmed Rafi’s work includes novels and short stories, but he is perhaps best known for editing the largest Bengali collection of Edgar Allan Poe. His latest book is titled Akhteruzzaman Ektu Cha Khete Chan. The story is centered around a mysterious entity that takes advantage of people’s greed to occupy everything, set against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, specifically during the lockdowns. It’s a humorous family drama with a twist of supernatural story-telling.

Wasee Ahmed Rafi’s most anticipated reads from Ekushey Boimela 2024: Wasee Ahmed Rafi has high hopes for several books, such as Javed Hussain’s Mirza Galib Er Shonge Dekha, Da Vinci Club by Mohammad Nazim Uddin, Mansur Hallajer Shotyo Bolar Poth by Arif Rahman, Mukhosher Din, Brishtyr Raat by Shuhan Rizwan’s, and lastly, Golap Nirman er Gonit by Abu Hena Mostofa Enam. 

Octarine Jogot: Shobuj and Tinjon by Tanzim Rahman

(Batighar Prokashoni and Adee Prokashoni)

Tanzim Rahman is a novelist that specializes in horror and fantasy genres. The Bangladeshi Bookstagram community was blown away by the eerie stories featured in Odbhut Shopno Dekhte Je Golpogulo Porben which he published last year. This year he has two new releases: Octarine Jogot: Shobuj and Tinjon. Octarine is a horror-thriller series that takes place in a world where magic exists, and a number of mythical entities are intertwined with modern society. Octarine Jogot: Shobuj is a sequel set in the very same world. Tinjon is more of a contemporary work of fiction that examines the male gaze, the role of guilt in a sexual relationship, and the living conditions of specific groups in Dhaka city.

Tanzim Rahman’s most anticipated reads from Ekushey Boimela 2024: Akhtaruzzaman Ektu Cha Khete Chan by Wasee Ahmed is the book that Tanzim Rahman’s looking forward to the most. He also plans on picking up the new Suhan Rizwan book, Mukhosher Din, Brishtyr Raat.

Pronoynama by Tanveer Anoy

(Annesha Prokashon)

Tanveer Anoy is a writer and a human rights worker. His works so far, for example: Mortolokchakra, Duroddhay or Punaha, are somber and often depicts social issues, but for the first time, we are getting a romance novel from him. 

Pronoynama is a tale about Arjun, the protagonist who was never given the chance to explore the universe of love, and when he finally does, he encounters some severe setbacks. Tanveer Anoy’s protagonist in this novel is not always politically correct, but a character who has flaws that are easy to relate to. He said his main inspiration for Pronoynama came from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s White Nights

Tanveer Anoy’s most anticipated reads from Ekushey Boimela 2024: Tanveer Anoy will be missing this year’s Ekushey Boimela, as he’s currently in the US for his MA. This year, many of his writer friends are releasing their books and he wishes them all the luck.

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