There is a special bond between the readers and writers. A reader embarks on a journey through a literary ocean with the trust that a writer would guide them home amid the turbulence.
And, in order to nurture that bond, publishing houses have been working relentlessly as a mediator. They are the bridge that connects the creative works with the readers.
Many a times, a publisher is also known to have improved the quality of the writer's work by making it more engaging.
A publisher is the one who establishes a channel of free flow of creative ideas from one end to the other.
And what could be the perfect place for all the publication houses to gather together and offer the readers an array of their collections than the Amar Ekushey Granthamela.
In this part of our report on the book fair, we highlight a few of these stalwarts.
Muktadhara Prokashoni is probably the very first reason for the readers to take part in and celebrate the Ekushey book fair.
On February 21, 1972, Chittaranjan Saha, an avid booklover and a graduate from Chaumohani College, laid a mat under a mango tree on the Bangla Academy premises and displayed 33 publications of his publishing house to pay homage to the 1952 Language Movement martyrs.
And, the rest is history -- this remarkable initiative is considered as the first stepping stone of the Ekushey book fair.
Gradually, Muktadhara was joined by other publishers too, and in 1978, Bangla Academy formalised the collection of sellers as the Ekushey book fair.
Now the publication is run by Jawhar Lal Saha.
This year, they have brought out 11 books.
“I've been coming to the book fair for a long time. Muktadhara was here since the start,” said Shazzad Hossain, an engineer, who was buying books at their stall yesterday. “They always have a good collection of books,” he said while buying science fiction books for his children.
The country's language authority was established in 1955. It hosts the book fair annually.
In 1978, the academy officially took the responsibility of organising the book fair every year and in 1984 it was renamed Amar Ekushey Granthamela, which has now become the lifeline for Bangladeshi book publishers.
Be it dictionaries, folk literature or books on research or the country's heritage and history, Bangla Academy is the place for the booklovers to satisfy their cravings.
They also publish books on the Liberation War and Language Movement to inspire the younger generations.
“Bhasa Andolaner Shaheedra” edited by six editors including its Director General Shamsuzzaman Khan, “Bhasa Andolaner Smriti o Kichu Jiggasha” by Ahmed Rafiq and “Bhasa Andolan o Nari” by Muhammad Humayun Kabir are some of the books drawing readers' attention at the stall.
One of the leading publication houses in the country, Mawla Brothers started its journey in 1954.
This publication house has received many awards including, “Shishu Sahitya Puraskar”, “Bangla Academy Award” and “Gemcon Literary Award”.
Their wide range of books includes literary works of Syed Shamsul Haq, Humayun Ahmed, Nasreen Jahan and Selim Al Deen.
Established in 1948, the publishing house is one of the oldest houses. This year they have brought out 22 books at the book fair.
“Chirkhut” by Taisir Reza, “Shesh Godhuli” by Zillur Rahman, “Hridkothon” by Golam Rabbani, “Adivasi Kosh” by Mithushilak Murmu are some of them.
While talking with the publisher Manjur Khan Chowdhury about his publication, many stories behind the publication came into light. He also told some nostalgic stories.
“The name Nawroze Kitabistan was given by Kazi Nazrul Islam himself,” said Manjur Khan Chowdhury, its publisher. “He wrote down the name on a piece of paper and we are still following his handwriting.”
“We still have readers who have been with us for ages,” he said smilingly. “They also bring their children to our stall at the book fair.”
UNIVERSITY PRESS LIMITED
The University Press Limited (UPL), a leading publisher, publishes educational, academic and scholarly books both in English and Bangla. UPL was set up as a publishing company in 1974. UPL also distributes books of foreign publishers in Bangladesh.
BISHWO SHAHITTO KENDRO
Bishwo Shahitto Kendro (BSK) always has a strong presence at the book fair. Established in 1978, BSK has become a nation-wide movement to enrich young minds through books.
Be it classic Bangla literature or translation of English ones, Bishwo Shahitto Kendro continues to offer readers a wide array of books for people of all ages.
Very few publishers can boast the fan following Seba Prokashoni has. This evergreen publication house has been enthralling the readers for over 50 years.
“Masud Rana”, one of the most beloved characters created by Seba Prokashoni founder Qazi Anwar Hussain, continues to attract new and old readers alike. At the same time, “Tin Goyenda”, a detective series created by Rakib Hasan, has captivated minds of readers for generations.
“I grew up reading Tin Goyenda. Besides, I love reading the translation of classics too,” said Nahia Ishan, a student of Buet. She bought translated books written by HG Wells.
Farzana Yeasmin, a former student of Eden Mohila College, said, “I've been a fan since I was in third grade. I visit the stall every year.”
Enthusiasts of mystery, crime, thriller, spy, and suspense books were seen flocking the stall yesterday. None of the bookworms were seen leaving the stall without buying their iconic paperbacks in newsprint.
Besides, there are a number of publication houses whose contribution to the book fair remains unmatched.
Ahmed Publishing House, Studentways, Anyaprokash, Khan Brothers and Company, Kakoli Prokashoni, Somoy Prokashon, Oboshor, Oitijjhya, Agami, Dibbyoprokash, Shuddashar and Tamrolipi are some of those, helping readers satiate their literary cravings.
Yesterday, 107 new books hit the fair.
Meanwhile, two books by Maidur Rahman Rubel, senior reporter of RTV, are available at the book fair. The books are “Konya Rashi” (short story) published by Merit Fair and children's book “Dushtu Bhuter Golpo” by Etee Publication.
PM'S NEW BOOK HITS BOOK FAIR
A new book containing 100 speeches of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is now available at the book fair.
The premier dedicated the book, “Nirbachito 100 Bhashon (2014-2017)”, to her parents -- Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib.
Prime Minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim Helal is the chief editor of the 552-page book, published by Genius Publication. The book is available at the stalls 607-609 at Suhrawardy Udyan.