Book launch at Omni
Our parents, teachers and even some peers often lament about how the habit of reading books has completely left today's society. However, none probably lament it as much as the publishers and bookstore owners. Of course, considering the price of books, we cannot really blame anyone. Nevertheless, some of us still do read books and love all things to do with books. For that rare breed of people, Omni Books Dhanmondi organized a book launching ceremony last Wednesday, the 24th of January. The book in question was “uneven octagon”, a collection of short stories by Shahidul Alam, currently a Professor at Independent University Bangladesh (IUB). Among those present on the occasion were Niaz Zaman, the publisher of the book, Neo Mendes, Director of Omni books and the Vice-chancellor of IUB Dr. Bazlul Mobin Chowdhury.
Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Mr. Mahiuddin Ahmed, Chief of the University Press Library. He spoke about the challenges faced by publishers in Bangladesh, and thanked Neo Mendes and Niaz Zaman for their efforts through Omni books and writers.ink respectively. Mr. Neo Mendes announced the opening of their latest branch in the airport, and urged everyone to drop by the next time they are waiting for a flight. He wished all success to the writer and publisher, and also answered a few questions from the audience about what steps they are taking to improve the writing and publishing scenario of the country.
Niaz Zaman, founder of writers.ink, the publisher of the book, introduced Shahidul Alam and described the events leading to this launching ceremony. She spoke about some of the stories, including one where Mr. Neo Mendes himself appears, causing much mirth amongst the audience. She also spoke about the dynamic career Mr. Alam has had, starting as a teacher, going into Foreign Service, forsaking all of that to become an actor and now back full circle to being a teacher at IUB.
Syed Manzurul Islam, in his inimitable style, did a humorous take on the stories and the book cover. On a more serious note, he also praised the author's observational skills, saying that they both had been to the same places but Mr. Alam has seen things he had never even noticed. Dr. Islam said that he loved the blend of fantasy and realism present in all the stories, and concluded by saying that he has always admired how the writer has always followed his heart.
Dr. Fakhrul Alam, a childhood friend of the writer, was invited next to say a few words. Fondly referring to Mr. Alam as “GM”, Dr. Alam spoke about how he had always been the brightest among his friends, and how they all admired the way he went through life, never knowing where the next moment will take him but always enjoying the ride nonetheless.
Last but not the least, Mr. Shahidul Alam himself shared a few words with those present. He called it a humbling experience, sitting here listening to everyone bestow such love upon him. He spoke a little about what made him write these stories, but says that his first love has always been acting and he will keep at that no matter what. At present he is teaching media and communication at IUB, but admits that “I myself don't know what I'll do next!”
Niaz Zaman concluded the ceremony by thanking all those present, and praising all who write and allow their writings to be published for scrutiny by a thousand eyes. She also thanked the staff at Omni Books, and all those who help her with writers.ink.
Uneven Octagon, and other books published by writers.ink, are available at Omni Books and will also be available at the UPL stall during Ekushery Book Fair.