LITERARY SEMINAR OVERVIEW
The theme of the literary seminar has been envisioned as ভুবনজোড়া আসনখানি -- বাংলা ও বাঙালী (Embracing the World: Bengal and Bengalis).
The literary seminar will identify distinctive values in cultural and social lives of Bengalis living worldwide, highlighting conflicts across generations, time, place, and beliefs. Eminent literary personalities from Bengal and the West are expected to convey such issues as addressed in their work, ranging from deeply felt and intimate narratives of identity (সত্ত্বার সন্ধানে) to women’s issues in a global perspective (নারী ও শক্তি). The seminar is also intended to feature diaspora literature (অভিবাসী সাহিত্য) as well as acclaimed western authors portraying Bengal in their studies (পাশ্চাত্যের কলমে বাংলা).
Mandakranta Sen is an eminent poet from Bengal who primarily writes in Bengali. Her academic pursuits took her to studying Medicine in Nilratan Sirkar Medical College but her love for writing took over during the final years. Medicine's loss has been literature's gain, as Mandakranta has left her mark in all genres - poetry, novel, short story, verse, drama, articles and essays. Some of her published works are: Hriday Abadhya Meye, Balo Anya Bhabe, Chhadma Puran, Utsarito Alo, Esabe-I Rater Chinha, Kashbhara Bandhutara, Barshaphalake Gantha Har, Kavya Sangraha, Jhanpatal, Dalchhut, Sahabasthan, Rituchakra, Andhakar Samudrer Niche, and Galper Boi. She also translates poetry from English and Hindi and her own works have been translated into English and Hindi. She is the winner of the prestigious Ananda Puraskar (1999), Akash Bangla Barsha Samman (2002) and Krittibas Puraskar (2003). The angst of a woman is the most dominant theme of the poetry of Mandakranta Sen. Her poems are quite frank in tone and tenor and the reader can very well decipher the anger that inevitably seeps in at the poet's realization of and identification with historically marginalized gender. Mandakranta later went on to receive the Swarnajayanti Special Sahitya Akademi Young Writers Award which she returned in 2015 to protest against the Dadri incident and the attacks on writers and rationalists.
Swapnamoy Chakraborty, the winner of the Bankim Chandra Memorial Award instituted by the West Bengal government, for his novel Abantinagar, and the Ananda Purashkar, for his novel Holud Golap (The Yellow Rose), writes short-short stories called Anugalpa (Atom-Sized Stories). It is a form that Swapnamoy has often wielded in recent years to make sharp, ironical observations on the interplay between individuals and the polity. He has built a reputation for never writing on the same theme twice. His work is both critically acclaimed and well-received by readers. Holud Golap is a seminal, monumental work about the LGBT community and its relationship with larger society. The anugalpa was made famous by Banaphool and even earlier Rabindranath Tagore employed this format of microfiction in his collection of short-short stories Lipika. Swapnamoy embraced this form and has taken it to great heights well before the advent of social media and its popularity of microfiction.