Sunday, June 16, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Heard at Hay

Update : 16 Nov 2013, 06:48 PM

These quotes are snippets from the discussions held at Hay Festival Dhaka 2013:


“My male friends would encourage me to write Valentine's cards for their girlfriends.. they bribed me with free lunch.”

~ Ahsan Akbar


“Typically after I write a poem I go into a state of deep existential despair.”

 “I find I am a harsher editor of my own work than a lot of the people I ask to contribute to the editing process.”

“In poems that contain neo-pastoral imagery, like in the Song of Songs, where the imagery is strong, I wouldn’t want to resort to some pokey regional English when translating.”

~ David Shook


"The US has a habit of short-circuiting all problems with violence."

"There is no denying capitalism is inhumane."

"Capitalism goes very well with fascism"

~ Tariq Ali


"In Egypt the movement was so pure and honest that it didn’t work because there were no political ideals so nobody wanted to be seen seeking power."

~ Ahdaf Soueif


"What form does the longing for change take? What they have in common is a lack of ideology."

"As far as the state was changed it has become a protector of inequity. The state has become the enforcer of criminal act – of robbing the people and the country."

~ Pankaj Mishra


"There’s that joke about having ‘mangoes’ in the title of your book if you’re from South Asia because it sounds more authentic."

“The question of dialect only arises for novels with dialogue. When translating poetry, I don’t think it is necessary to consider dialect.”

~ Eliot Weinberger


“I don’t like the term tolerance. It means ‘I know you’re peculiar but I’m not going to hit you over the head.”

“In Tagore you have the mystical and the humanist coming together.”

~ Kaiser Haq


“Tagore says all races are ‘lost in the same body.’” 

~Sonia Nishat


“I would say that if you are writing in a certain genre, within a certain culture, you stick to it. There is no point in being trying to be ‘cute’ and mixing languages. Purity of form allows for better, clearer expression.”

~ Aamer Hussein


“Sufism is the best school of writing. In this mystical branch of Islam, I found a system that was almost as absurd as literature itself. Where they would say ‘mystic’ I would say ‘artist.’”

“Sufism’s miracles are very physical. Upon spinning you experience the miracle of all being one, you experience the 24-frames-per-second sensation of film. And of course there’s the greatest miracle, the Quran, and if you have that, that’s enough.”

~ Mario Bellatin

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