Shibli’s rare fate as a Bangladeshi novelist

Latiful Islam Shibli won renown as a seasoned lyricist and playwright during the Nineties. He was considered one of the best lyricists in the country when the Bangladeshi band music movement was at its apogee, penning words to some of the music of beloved artists such as James and the late Ayub Bacchu, as well as others.

Now though, Shibli is set to hit the headlines as an author. London-based Austin Macauley Publishers will be bringing out the book, named “The Seize”, and it will be available to buy worldwide from January 29 as the publishers announced. Along with publishers’ website, Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and many others will vend this book around the world.

The development comes as a huge success for Shibli as a Bangladeshi writer. It’s a rare occasion when a Bangladeshi author gets a golden opportunity to reach a global audience.

Who is Latiful Islam Shibli?

From acting in a drama that he wrote himself, to singing songs to becoming a fashion icon for the future generation, Shibli played many interesting roles in his life. He also appeared in TV commercials during the ‘90s. Moreover, he is also a vivid bodybuilder who often raises eyebrows posting images of his well-built body

on his social media handle.

From all these, he started generating a handsome amount of readership in the biggest bookfair of Bangladesh over the few years. In the last few years, he published four novels and each of those drew the attention of many young readers.

What has Shibli really done?

Shibli emphasizes on politics, history, romance and spirituality on his writings, which is helping to draw the attention of avid fiction readers, and at the same time, he is becoming different from other contemporary novelists of Bangladesh. His approach to come up with something different rather than thinking to go for mere popularity made him unique in his own business.

But his endeavours to come out from the crowd was limited to Bangladeshi readers. So Shibli decided to take a new challenge and set up a new goal to reach more readers around the world.

In 2019, his publisher Nalonda published an English version of his Bengali novel “Dokhol”. He then opted to reach out to a big publisher from any western country, and Austin Macauley Publishers grabbed him. But the whole journey was a tough one for Shibli.

After submitting the manuscript of the English version of Dokhol, The Seize, it went through scrutiny of the editorial team of Austin Macauley Publishers consisting of at least five to six members. Austin Macauley Publishers decided to publish this book after several meetings among their editors.

They involved the author in every process to develop a book beautiful both inside and out. Hundreds of authors send their manuscripts to Austin Macauley Publishers every year from around the world, but a few of them get selected to be published.

“The whole process was like a long journey for me, and in the end, it’s very satisfying for me as a Bangladeshi author. I believe it’ll open the door for many to dream big in future,” Shibli told UNB.

What is the novel about?

The Seize is about “a fight to seize a secret city within the city”, as the publishers addressed this book on their website. “A soft-hearted, loving poet becomes a murderer, and a murderous gangster becomes merciful – only for love. The war between two lovers to win a woman’s heart is spread throughout a city…. In the dark side of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, where organised criminals are fighting ruthlessly to seize power, another war continues simultaneously to win a heart…”, it reads further.

“I wanted to come with a detailed story of Dhaka’s underworld, and this novel is one of a kind. There was no novel in Bangladesh which talked about this subject. In this novel, you’ll find out how a roadside nut seller got extorted in the city of Dhaka during ‘90s, and how the local politicians, police and other high officials got their steak,” Shibli told UNB.

Source: United News of Bangladesh