Translation: Noëlle Garnier
These eight short stories from eight contemporary authors (Saomet Osman, Asraf Siddiqui, Aiyad Samsul Huq, Saokat Ali, Al Mahmus, Hasan Ajijul Haq, Selina Hosen and Humayun Ahmed) offer the reader insight into a culture which has been little explored. They allow the reader a taste of the charm and originality of tone of these stories, where tragedy is blended with tenderness, about memorable characters faced with poverty, suffering, political conflicts, local tyrants, and societal constraints. This book was co-edited with Unesco.
Asraf Siddiqui was born in 1927. He has had a teaching career and held several distinguished positions: university rector and director of the Bangla Academy, to name just two. Apart from his professional life, he devotes himself to research and is the author of an enormous work of compilation of works of the folklore heritage of Bangladesh. He has published a large number of literary works; poetry holds a more important place there than fiction. Asraf Siddiqui has received numerous awards for his various works, including a Unesco prize in 1966.
Saokat Osman was born in 1917. Along with his teaching profession, he devoted more than sixty years of his life to literature. He is a distinguished author who is part of the very first generation of Bangladeshi writers, that of Syed Waliullah. He writes in all literary genres; he also translates Tolstoy, or Molière, from English. His two greatest works are novels: "Janani"in 1958 and "Kritadaser hasi" in 1962. This humanist author focuses above all on defending the values of justice and secularism and tirelessly fights fundamentalist ideas. He defines himself as a political writer and writes, he says, for the people; which probably explains why he was at the origin of the introduction into Bangladeshi literature of the dialect style which was subsequently adopted by many authors. Saokat Osman died in 1998 at the age of 81.
Saokat Ali was born in 1936. He is one of the most committed short story writers of the sixties and seventies. He is above all a realistic writer who is interested in the plight of the exploited, the neglected, the victims of economic and social oppression, mainly in the rural world. He received the Bangla Academy Award in 1968 and won several other awards for his novels and short stories.
Saiyad Samsul Huq was born in 1935. He is a unattached author who has found his own style: a direct, simple style with vivid descriptions, a style that one feels free, as if emancipated. He practices all genres although his preferences go towards poetry and verse theater. For the past twenty years or so, he has hardly written classic short stories, but short stories of a new genre which he calls "short storie-essay". He thus seeks to find what he thinks to be the original style of Bangladesh which he defines as a narrative supported by comments, without element of surprise, where everything is established from the beginning, a kind of "pictorial narration" which would take place touch by touch starting from any point. Saiyad Samsul Haq is considered one of the greatest Bangladeshi writers today. He is also known and appreciated in India for his plays and poetry.
Al Mahmud was born in 1936. His career as a man of letters began in the sixties, during which time he was recognized as one of the three greatest poets in his country along with Samsur Rahman and Sahid Kadari. Subsequently, his short stories won the votes of the public for their lyricism, their romanticism. This until the end of the seventies when Al Mahmud rallied to fundamentalist doctrines and wrote practically nothing more than chronicles on his spiritual conversion. For most of his readers, Al Mahmud as a writer only exists through the works written before this change. He was awarded the Bangla Academy Prize in 1968 for his poems and the Humayun Kabir Prize in 1974 in Calcutta.
Hasan Ajijul Haq was born in 1939. He currently teaches philosophy at Rajshahi University. Mainly a writer of short stories, he also writes plays and essays. In the 1970s he was one of the most committed authors in his country, one of the greatest protesters of Bangladeshi literature. He was awarded the Bangla Academy Award for his short stories in 1970.
Selina Hosen was born in 1947. President of the Bangla Academy, she is the author of fifteen novels and several collections of short stories and essays. She is one of the most recognized writers in the Bangladeshi intellectual community. Her stories are often very realistic sociological, psychological or historical studies. She adopts a modern style, deliberately complicated, and enjoys experimenting in the field of writing. Selina Hosen is one of the few writers known outside the borders of Bangladesh: some of her short stories have been translated into English, Russian, Malay and Kanad • a. In addition to the many awards received in her own country, she was awarded a literary award in the Philippines.
Humayun Ahmed was born in 1948. He divides his time between teaching science and writing. His style is simple and clear and his stories are often tinged with romanticism which has earned him immense success with the young Bangladeshi generation. However, he is not widely recognized within the intellectual community. His literary works - novels and short stories - are numerous. Since his first novel in 1972, he has received numerous literary awards, including that of the Bangla Academy.
- Deux voyageurs – দুই র (Saokat Osman) (Two Travellers)
- L'enfant de la rue – গলির ধারের ছেলেটি (Asraf Siddiqui) (The Street Child)
- Le poète – কবি (Saiyad Samsul Huq) (The Poet)
- Dans le sang et la rosée – রক্তে ও শিশিরে (Saokat Ali) (In Blood and Dew)
- La barque noire – কালো নৌকা (Al Mahmud) (The Black Boat)
- À la recherche du bonheur – সুখের সন্ধানে (Hasan Ajijul Haq) (In Search of Happiness)
- Le flot – স্রোত (Selina Hosen) (The Flood)
- Histoire d'amour – তালবাসার গল্প (Humayun Ahmed) (Love Story)