Like the previous issues, the Summer 2015 issue of the English-language literary journal Bengal Lights has the richness and diversity that has set it apart since its first issue came out in the Autumn of 2012.
This issue has taken on board more writers of Bangladeshi origin, which has struck a perfect balance between Bangladeshi and “foreign” authors. It should be mentioned that BL is the first literary journal from Bangladesh that began its journey with a broader vision of giving writers from different continents a transnational platform, thus creating unique opportunities for literary exchange.
The fiction pieces by Kazi Anis Ahmed, Jane McAdams and Nadeem Zaman will leave a mark on readers for both their complexity and storytelling. The pieces under the category flash fiction, especially the ones by Mahesh Rao and Ahmede Hussain, will definitely give readers a jolt for the offbeat content and perspectives they offer.
The poetry section is no less rich with contributions from Kaiser Haq, Sadaf Saaz, Nausheen Eusuf, David Shook and Adrian A Husain, among others. The nonfiction pieces by Khademul Islam and Ahsan Akbar are an extra treat for readers.
However, translation constitutes the richest segment in this issue. Translation of five Burmese poems, an African short story, Syed Shamsul Haque and Shaheen Akhtar’s stories, Sunil Gangyopadhyay’s poems, among others, is excellent read. This segment is a testament to Bengal Lights’s transnational platform.
Translation of Bangla literature has become a fashion these days. Due to the spread of vanity publications, anyone who has nothing better to do tries his or her hands at translating some Bangla stories into English. As there is no well-thought-out government or private initiative, Bangali authors feel elated at the news of a new translation of their stories, no matter how abysmal it is. But Bengal Lights, since its inceptio, has taken the task of translation with the seriousness that it deserves. This is the first journal that not only carries quality translations but also takes it upon its shoulder to bring them out in the form of books so that individual works of translation do not get lost in the maze of umpteen pieces of translated stories or poems.