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In February this year the authorities in Bangladesh took Shamsuzzoha Manik, a 73-year-old publisher, into custody for publishing a book titled "Islam Bitorko" ("Debate on Islam").  His...

In 1971, the Man Booker Prize committee succeeded in persuading Saul Bellow to be one of the judges. The nattily dressed, sharp-tongued American writer could only think of one hotel fit for his London stay, and perhaps, ego: The Ritz on Piccadilly. Maybe it was a silen...

End of last month, I was holding gold dust right there in my hot little hand: a ticket to ride to The Cure’s solo show at the Royal Albert Hall. I tried to recall when or which record got me into them. It must have been in the late 80’s or early 90’s, when my most priz...

Know what guys, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that while it’s only April the most talked about piece in literary journalism for this year has already been written. Titled Ghosting, it’s a long memoir piece – running to just under 27,000 words - published as the...

Poets are touched by the gods, but not by the publishers. Old joke from creative writing courses in American universities, but how much of it is actually true? We know the market for poetry books is small (and shrinking daily) compared to brawling, sabre-rattling march...

Having been brought up in a Bengali household where any form of dissent or challenge to authority was tantamount to beyadobi, i.e., talking back with one’s elders, Christopher Hitchens (1949 – 2011) was a liberating force. It started with his book The Missionary Positi...

The wonderful Dave Eggers tried to draw me – his way of signing my copy of You Shall Know Our Velocity, his second book. Failing miserably, Dave turned me into a girl and called her Amy Carter, the daughter of Jimmy Carter. He then explained why it was important to hav...

Pankaj Mishra tells me that he is no fan of literary festivals. “At literary festivals, the published word is somewhat replaced by the personality of the writer; something is lost in the public nature of these events.” 

I am stumped. But not for long.

 

We are sitting on...

Summer bids farewell. It is the perfect time to long for a dip into warmth of homeland nostalgia aka "immigrant fiction", though the term is not favoured by Jhumpa Lahiri, whose new book pique my interest. The Lowland (Bloomsbury 2013) is her second novel and fourth wo...

When I wrote to Tariq Ali, to introduce Bengal Lights and to invite him to the 2013 Dhaka edition of the Hay Festival, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I came to know of Tariq Ali during my A-level days, when teen angst in Nottingham drove me to book stores. Fresh from Ba...

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