During the first two weeks of Amar Ekushey Book Fair, books and novels written by the late Humayun Ahmed remain the core attraction of the month-long event.
Almost six years have passed since the popular fiction writer passed away, but his books remain the top sellers – especially those written toward the end of his life, say publishers.
Five of his books including multiple collections of his stories have been popular at the fair since the beginning.
Publishers and book lovers ubiquitously told the Dhaka Tribune that no writer has yet been able to replace the great Humayun in the mind of the bookworm.
Humayun’s first work “Nondito Noroke”, followed by “Shonkhonil Karagar”, attracted thousands of readers while his books featuring the famous characters Misir Ali and Himu are favourites of the youth.
Born in 1948, Humayun Ahmed authored over 200 books; many of which were best sellers and eight of which were made into films. He was not only a writer, but a dramatist, screenwriter, film-maker, song writer, scholar, and lecturer as well. He won the Bangla Academy Award in 1981, Ekushey Padak in 1994, and three National Film Awards. He passed away in 2012 after a nine-month battle against colon cancer.
His unique style captures the contemporary lives and lifestyles of Bangladesh, depicting the stories, and aspirations of traditional middle class and rural families. He has long been credited for revitalizing Bengali literature.
Available books at the fair
Annya Prokash is one of the popular stalls at the book fair where bookworms head to buy books by Humayun Ahmed.
No new books by the late author are available at the fair, but a new collection of his stories is coming to the fair soon, say publishers.
Annya Prokash is bringing his “Sera Tin Uponnyash”, “Rochonaboli 11 and 12”, and “Science Fiction 10” as a series.
Another publishing house Kakoli Prokashoni will be bringing “Sera Humayun Ahmed” and “Muktijuddher Golpo” to the fair.
Ridima Haldar, a fan of Humayun Ahmed, told the Dhaka Tribune: “After the death of the author, I went to the book fair and found the books written by him that I had not read yet. If you have read them all, buy your favourite books by the author and give them to friends.”
University student Sadat Rafi said: “Humayun Ahmed was the writer who got me to read books outside of textbooks. I still feel empty when I cannot buy a new book written by him from the book fair.”
Publisher of Kakoli Prokashoni A K Nasir Ahmed Selim said most of the books sold from his stall at the fair are part of Humayun Ahmed’s Himu and Misir Ali series.
“We have published two new collections along with reprints of old books by him which are the centres of attraction,” he said.
“Most of his novels are almost sold out. Like every year, we are expecting to get the highest sales from the books written by Humayun Ahmed this year as well,” he added.
The legacy of a legend
Mazharul Islam, publisher of Anno Prokash, published the highest number of the late writer’s books.
“Even after almost six years since his death, the sale volume of his books has not decreased and remains at the top. In the month-long fair, ‘Deyal’, ‘Maddhanya’, ‘Matal Haowa’, and ‘Jochna O Jononir Golpo’ by Humayun Ahmed still top the list of sales and are setting records,” added Islam.
When asked whether there are any writers who can replace Humayun, the Anno Prokash owner said he does not see anyone with the qualities that Humayun had.
“If you see the sale volume of his old books, you will see that those who have not read his books earlier are also collecting his works. We just reprint and sell books every year, and it seems like this will continue for the next 50 years,” he concluded.