For bookworms in Bangladesh, the name of Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal is synonymous with science fiction.
The eminent professor continues to enthrall booklovers of various ages through his writings.
Every year, readers eagerly await the Amar Ekhushey Grantha Mela for his new books to hit the stalls. The joy of reading also increases manifolds when the readers get to meet their favourite author in person.
Yesterday was no different.
For the first time, the renowned author visited this year's book fair in the afternoon. He was surrounded by readers who were taking his autographs as well as selfies with him.
The good professor happily complied.
Though busy, Prof Iqbal spared some time for this correspondent when he approached him on the Suhrawardy Udyan premises.
“I want everyone to read books,” he said. “I expect the youths to read books… Stop spending time on Facebook and spend more time reading.”
“Leave the 'face' from 'Facebook'… just books no Facebook… alright?” he said to this correspondent with a smile. On a serious note, Prof Iqbal said if someone does not read books they cannot be a “complete” person.
“Then again, this has become a global issue. More and more young people are reading less these days.” He said there is a difference between browsing through and reading a book. One should take time and relish the joy of reading.
While talking to this newspaper, Prof Iqbal was approached by a teenager, Joyutu. The tenth-grader said he came to the book fair for the first time with his father from Barishal. He wanted Prof Iqbal to sign “Niyan”, a new science fiction written by the professor.
He also wanted to take a selfie. Prof Iqbal smiled and obliged.
Prof Iqbal said, “Every time I visit the book fair, I genuinely feel happy. Among all the fairs, 'boi mela' is the most beautiful one.”
This year, different publication houses including Kakoli, Somoy and Tamralipi brought out books written by him.
“Obishsashsho Sundar Prithibi” from Kakoli, “Ek Dozon Ekjon” from Somoy and “Niyan” by Tamralipi are drawing readers' attention at the fair. Besides, his old works are also much sought-after.
Yesterday, a total of 161 new books hit the fair.