A novelist, dramatist, columnist and television personality, Imdadul Haq Milan is a well-known name in the Bangladeshi literary circuit. He has around 200 successful short stories and novels to his credit. His writings have also earned him the prestigious Bangla Academy Award. A number of his novels are available at this year's Ekushey Boi Mela. Milan reflects on his career in an exclusive interview with The Daily Star.
How do you feel to be attending this year's Ekushey Boi Mela?
The Ekushey Boi Mela is an event I eagerly wait for every year. Even though I get anxious about my book releases, it is a really happy occasion for me. I love meeting up with my peers in the writers' community throughout the month.
So far, what are your thoughts on this year's Boi Mela?
I would say the organising committee of the Boi Mela has done a great job this year. A special mention should go out to the architect, Enamul Karim Nirjhar. He has done a brilliant job in bringing a fresh and modern look to the Boi Mela. I believe that visitors and readers will have a fulfilling experience at the fair this year.
Did you attend the first ever Ekushey Boi Mela?
Yes, I attended the first ever Ekushey Boi Mela, held in 1972, after our independence. I was a student back then. Chittaranjan Saha of Muktodhara Publishing took the initiative. The Boi Mela started merely as a book fair and today, it has evolved into a national cultural festival reflecting the spirit of a modern Bangladesh. It is delightful to see thousands of people gather to purchase books and to spend time in the company of books and their authors with a patriotic zeal.
Tell us about some of your most notable books at this year's Boi Mela.
My novel, Ekattor O Ekjon Maa, published by Annanya, is my biggest release this year. It revolves around the Liberation War of Bangladesh. I hope that my readers will enjoy the novel.
What would you say was a highlight in your career as a novelist?
My novel, Bhalobashar Shukh Dukh, which came out in 1993, was a massive success. I remember readers flocked around our stall at the Boi Mela that year to grab it. We had sold thousands of copies. That was quite an unforgettable moment.
Would you like to convey any message to your loyal readers?
Over the years, many parents have approached me to say that they have grown up reading my novels and now, they have passed on my stories to their children. It is incredible to see that different generations in a family are familiar with my work. I am eternally grateful to my readers.