This year, too, the DLF brings our attention to women writers, especially fiction writers among them.
This year’s DLF is set out to be a cracker. With the likes of VS Naipaul appearing in the most anticipated panels, one might think what else does it have to offer? I don’t know any of these names.
But that’s the beauty of the Dhaka Lit Fest. It sheds light on some of the most promising emerging writers as of yet undiscovered.
This year, too, the DLF brings our attention to women writers, especially fiction writers among them. Be ye man, woman, or child, if you are an aspiring fiction writer, this year’s festival promises stellar work, and stellar discussions for you as each of these women have some inspiring stories to share with the audience.
Writers from no other post-colonial landscape have provided literature like the Indians have. Anjum Hasan’s debut novel, Lunatic in my Head, appeared in various shortlists for awards. It takes place in her hometown of Shillong, weaving together three seemingly disparate narratives into one cohesive masterful one. She is also a prominent short story writer, and aspiring writers who find the shorter form a more comfortable home would do well to check out her collection, Different Pleasures.
Sackville’s debut novel, The Still Point, about two characters separated by a 100 years, won the John Llwellyn Rhys prize. An interesting narrative device, characters separated by time is not a new concept, but one that writers, especially ones in the sub-continent, would want to indulge in. Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas are good examples of how writers can effectively use this technique to get their point across.
Another winner of the John Llwellyn Rhys prize, Wyld is widely recognised in the literary world as one of its best. The Daily Telegraph has hailed her as one of the 20 best British authors under the age of 40. Her first novel, After The Fire, A Still Small Voice was critically acclaimed and won several prizes worldwide. Set in Australia (Wyld is Anglo-Australian herself), and similar in many ways to Sackville’s The Still Point, the novel tells the story of men from two different generations, seemingly not connected apart from their setting.
Antara Ganguli’s Tanya Tania is a delight. Spanning two nations that can’t quite decide if they hate each other, the novel tells the stories of two Tanias/Tanyas: One in Karachi, the other in Mumbai. Told through letters, it is a fascinating story evoking emotions, with a touch of exquisite mildness.