Published in: The Daily Star on June 29, 2007

Rubana Huq, poet and researcher, has started a website dedicated to Bangladeshi writing in English. She talks about the site and her future plans

How did the idea of monsoonletters first occur to you? Will you please tell us a bit about the site?

Rubana: I am a researcher in Kolkata where I am working on a small publishing house: Writers Workshop. WW is run by Prof P Lal who has, for the last 50 years encouraged writing in English. The impact of publishing on a writer’s space and pace is enormous. The encouragement, in turn, gives birth to further creativity. Therefore, I thought of a platform that would be easily accessible for aspiring Bangladeshi writers as well as the writers already published. E publishing seemed to be a feasible option and I didn’t want to waste a second implementing the idea.

Compared to its South Asian counterparts Bangladeshi writing in English is a relatively new thing. How do you view Bangladeshi English literature?

Rubana: Bangladeshis have been writing in English for a long time. The tradition hasn’t possibly set in.Bangladeshis writing in English in any genre should be encouraged. The choice of the medium of language is a writer’s choice. The number of young monsooners writing for the site has been a relief. There are just too many talented young people out there, ready to emote and share their inner space with the rest of us! The future of the English literary scene seems to be getting better and better every minute.
Does Monsoonletters have any plan to publish e-books? What do you think is the future of electronic publishing?

Rubana: ML will publish e books along with a paper version of its content after a year. The site has to nurture its own future and acquire some more flesh. I guess the growth will come from the quality and quantity of the contents belonging to the site. If the site gets to be popular amongst young monsooners and if the site archives the work of all the writers of Bangladesh, only then will it graduate to the next level. The future of e publishing may face controversies right now, but ‘e’ is a medium that promises the most. With control over one’s own domain of writing, one should happily create more in the virtual reality of literature.

What is your future plan?

Rubana: My future plan is to: * encourage more writing in English,* take up projects that will make the country look literally better with “city poetry” concepts where a painter and a poet will collaborate and create art windows at every commercial outlet, : stimulate the world of a young author maintain the database of the existing authors with equal caution, dedication and passion.

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