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There is no limit in storytelling

  • Published at 06:18 pm November 17th, 2017
There is no limit in storytelling


The intermittent drizzle on the first day of the Dhaka Lit Fest could not deter readers and writers from attending their favourite sessions. The “Short Of It” was one such session which saw lovers of short fiction gather at Poet Shamsur Rahman Seminar Room. 

It was indeed a treat for us aspiring writers to see Nadeem Zaman, the panel moderator, talk about short fiction with Aamer Hussein, Nadia Kabir Barb and Salahdin Imam. What made the session more appealing was the presence of the Man Booker winner Ben Okri among the audience. He seemed quite absorbed throughout the session while Aamer Hussein and other fellow panelists unfolded their storytelling technique. 

The all three panelists came up with their new collections of short stories – Aamer Hussein with his new collections of short stories, Love and Its Seasons; Nadia Kabir Barb with Truth or Dare and Salahdin Imam with Diana Juxtaposed and Other Unrealities. Focusing on the scope of short story writing, Zaman hurled questions about what attracted the panelists to write short stories. Aamer Hussein replied deftly, “As a writer it’s a compression, agility and ability to put across something in and even learn a thing or two.” Salahdin Imam put his love of the short story quite candidly, “It gives writers a lot of freedom. A writer can express an incredible range of variations through short stories”. Nadia Kabir Barb responded more genuinely: “It gives me the opportunity to be anything I want to be, anyone I want to be, anywhere I want to be and anytime I want to be.” 

Before jumping into the bits of short story writing, the panelists read out selected stories from their collections. Saladin fascinated the audience with his story of a Samurai; Aamer picked up the story about a young man; Nadia introduced her story of a very flawed character to the audience quite brilliantly. 

But how does a writer develop a character? What makes a great story? Is there any formula for a story to be really appealing to the readers? Nadia explained from her own experience. “I have characters before I have a story. I personally believe if you can’t create characters that the readers will relate to in some way, the story doesn’t matter. Because you may have the best story, but if you don’t care about the character, the protagonist, then it doesn’t matter. You may love the character, you may hate the character, you may feel sorry for the character – as long as you feel something for the character, you are invested in the story. ”

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