Have you ever read a poem where each line is written by a different poet? Or one that is composed based just on a painting? How about a verse that must contain specific words chosen by a group of writers?
Such experimental techniques are used by writers who write regularly for independent literary magazines, lovingly called “little mag”. With unique styles of writing, little mags open up opportunities for new writers who want to practice literature outside the mainstream.
On the premises of Bangla Academy at the Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela, anyone can find a gathering of such writers and little mag stalls in the “Little Mag Chattar” or little mag corner. A total of 155 stalls for 180 little mags have been installed in the premises this year.
“For budding writers, little mag is a good place to start, because mainstream publishers want conventional write-ups that is beneficial to their business. But little mags don't care for such issues; instead, they encourage writers to break stereotypes, be it in form or topic, through their writing style,” said Rokttim Rajib, who writes regularly in “Orbak” (something new) magazine.
According to the little mag editors and writers, little mag movement started in the '80s in the country to introduce new writing styles and helping new writers emerge. However, now the lustre of the little mag has started to lose its originality and readers are not that interested anymore, due to various reasons.
“The little mag is now mostly dependent on writers who value work of fellow writers. General readers are more attracted to popular publishing houses,” said Aniruddho Dilwar, an editor of “Uttorer Hawa” (Northern Wind) magazine.
Some of the writers believe that some little mags now follow conventional writing styles, and publish an edition that is not much different from general literary magazines.
“Due to the lack of quality write-ups from some little mags, people do not show interest in reading those,” said Dipankar Marduk, assistant editor and writer of “Loko”.
However niche, there is readership for experimental literature at the fair. “I like reading on various topics and poetry, and I buy little mags whenever I come to the fair,” said Tasfia Jaman, a master's student from Jahangirnagar university.
Meanwhile, 149 new books hit the fair yesterday.