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Shankar: One of Bengali fiction’s biggest luminaries

  • Published at 05:43 pm November 4th, 2019
Mani Shankar Mukherjee

His fictional writing has inspired and sustained many generations of fiction writers writing in Bangla

Literature remains to be one of the spheres in which the secular fabric of our society is spontaneously upheld through interactions between Bangla fiction writers and readers. Religious extremism is on the rise in both West Bengal of India and Bangladesh. Yet Humayun Ahmed, Selina Hossain and Imdadul Haq Milon are as popular in Kolkata as Shankar, Samaresh Majumdar, Sunil Gangopadhyay and Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay are in Bangladesh. The Dhaka Lit Fest, ever since it started nine years ago, has always sought to strengthen this bond by inviting both recalcitrant and mainstream voices in fiction and poetry from West Bengal, so that writers from the other major home of Bangla can become a part of the dialogue the DLF aims to create and broaden. 

This year, Shankar, one of the biggest luminaries from Kolkata, will grace the Dhaka Lit Fest and talk about his journey as a fiction writer. His fictional writing has inspired and sustained many generations of fiction writers writing in Bangla.

Shankar’s literary career spans more than six decades. He has written numerous novels, short stories and nonfiction books. Among his notable novels are Chowringhee, Seemabaddha, Jana Aranya, Nivedita Research Laboratory, Samrat O Sundari, Subarno Sujog, Padmapatay Jol and Bodhodoy. Chowringhee has been translated into English by Arunava Sinha and into French by Dr Philippe Benoit. His debut Kato Ojanare (The Great Unknown) and Gharer Madhye Ghar (Thackeray Mansion) have been translated into English by Soma Das and Sandipan Deb respectively. 

Three of Shankar’s novels, namely Chowringhee, Seemabaddha and Jana Aranya, have been adapted into movies, out of which the last two were directed by Satyajit Ray.