A sneak peak at “What lurks beyond”
Say what you will about the Dhaka Lit Fest, it’s definitely given both budding writers and aspiring publishers a great platform to showcase their work. It’s not a stretch to say that the volume of Bangladeshi writing in English has increased exponentially since the festival set up shop.
The ripple effect of this showcase space is seen in the rise of many indie publishers and other book-related businesses selling lit-swag, which also enjoy a spike in popularity come November. One rookie publisher that has had a great 2018 is Worthy Publications.
Worthy BD, a company founded by the very young sibling duo Nuzaimul Hoq Xishan and Kashfia Haque Samara, started off with a print-on-demand service for readers on a budget. “Everything is fine except the prices of original books in our country. It should be easier for people to purchase books within their budget. And that's exactly what we are trying to do,” they told Weekend Tribune in an earlier interview. PDFs of local prints were expected orders, but when more young authors began sending in manuscripts to be turned into physical books, the pair realized that there was a different market waiting to be tapped. With that in mind, they launched their publications wing.
From the outset, their approach was a departure from the exclusionary policies of larger publishing houses in the country – they have an “everyone is welcome” attitude towards new writers, and the Mason Jar stories, one of their debut anthologies, showcased submissions printed in the raw form. This unorthodox approach may raise quite a few eyebrows, but definitely causes some conversation, which is perhaps what the siblings intended.
With Halloween right behind us and the cold mists of November blanketing the city, Worthy’s latest offering is yet another anthology called What lurks beyond, a collection of some sixteen horror stories by first time writers.
An insomniac makes contact with a mysterious entity at dawn. An orphan who is abused by her brother has to witness his murder. An anonymous note passed in school carries a powerful, mind-bending curse. These are just some of the stories in What Lurks Beyond. Skimming through the sixteen, it’s evident that the common themes connecting them include insanity and loss of control. If this random sampling of new writing is anything to go by, ghosties and beasties are passé; what’s trending is the macabre circus of the mind.
What Lurks Beyond is launching at Dhaka Lit Fest, so be sure to drop by the Worthy Books booth to check it out.