Absurd Night, a translation of writer and academic Syed Manzoorul Islam’s Bangla novel Ajgubi Raat, has been launched at a program at the Dhanmondi campus of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) on Saturday.
Published by Bengal Lights Books under the Library of Bangladesh series, Absurd Night has been translated by Pushpita Alam and edited by Arunava Sinha. The original book, Ajgubi Raat, was published by Anyaprakash in 2010.
The book was unveiled by UGC professor Fakrul Alam, who was present at the ceremony as the chief guest, along with DTC Director Kaiser Haq and Islam.
Poet and academic Kaiser Haq, who moderated a discussion that followed the launch, talked briefly about how this project was conceived by Dhaka Translation Center. “The translator and writer, if the writer is alive, should work hand-in-hand. The translation should be ideally a collaboration between the translator and the writer,” he said.
In his speech, translator and academic Fakrul Alam reflected on different aspects of Syed Manzoorul Islam’s writing style. He said, “Syed Manzoorul Islam portrays everyday life, but his tone is of a born story-teller.” He also read excerpts from the book.
Islam briefly talked about the process of writing this novel and how he’d cemented quite a few stories together. “In all my stories, I pick up something from here, something from there and put everything together,” he said. “All these stories circulated for a while in my consciousness and while I was writing one, the other followed.”
Terming the translation excellent, both Fakrul Alam and Islam emphasized the rare feat Pushpita Alam had achieved in her translation.