Writing is the tree, the other branches of identities

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“Many new writers are influenced by Humayun Ahmed’s writing. It’s true that people use that against me because my writing is simple and can reach the masses. But my work is not like that of Humayun Ahmed. I certainly don’t copy his work”

July 25, 2022, 11:15 a.m.

Last modification: July 25, 2022, 11:38 a.m.

Photo: courtesy

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Photo: courtesy

With 24 published books, Sadat Hossain is considered one of the most influential contemporary writers in Bangladesh.

He was recently named Best Fiction Writer to win the 2022 Rokomari Best Seller Award.

Among several awards and accolades, he is also the recipient of the prestigious Humayun Ahmed Sahitya Puroshkar, Chamber International Award and Chokh Sahitya Puraskar.

Sadat carries many identities: writer, poet, presenter, photographer and filmmaker. He has also recently entered the music business, writing lyrics for mainstream movies and some popular singers.

“Some of my songs have already made movies. Also, popular singers like Chamok Hasan and Anupam Roy have sung my lyrics,” he said.

Many composers contact him for his lyrics, but Sadat tends to be very selective with whom he chooses to work. “I’d rather give my lyrics to a good songwriter for free than work with a random songwriter for money.”

Photo: courtesy

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Photo: courtesy

Photo: courtesy

Of all the arts in which he was interested, Sadat considered himself above all a storyteller. “I always wanted to tell stories, even as a kid,” he said.

“All art, whether it is film, photography, painting, sculpture or a novel; they all have a story to tell. However, the root of my passion is rooted in writing fiction. Therefore, that would be my primary identity.”

Besides writing, Sadat also gained popularity in film, which earned him numerous accolades, including an international award from Junior Chamber International for his short film “Bodh”.

Sadat’s main interests throughout his career were writing and photography. He took a break from writing to pursue a film career for a short time. It was his photography and his writing that inspired him to start making films.

When Sadat writes something, he visualizes it first; on the other hand, photography allows him to express his thoughts through fixed images. So making a movie to share his story was a natural next step for him.

“If you’re a good photographer, you can also be a wonderful filmmaker.”

Photo: courtesy

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Photo: courtesy

Photo: courtesy

However, Sadat wants above all to stick to writing. As he explained, “Writing is the tree of my creativity, and other identities are its branches.”

Many Indian books have always been readily available in Bangladesh, but books written by Bangladeshi authors were not always available to Indian readers. But now internet and social media have broken down geographical barriers making many Bangladeshi writers popular in West Bengal as well. During his visits to the Kolkata Book Fair, Sadat is often swarmed by long lines of fans waiting for a few words, an autograph or a selfie.

“The way I saw people screaming and clapping, I was in disbelief.”

Many of Sadat Hossain’s works are inspired by Humayun Ahmed. But he was criticized for copying the eminent author.

As he explained, “Many of the titles in my book are similar to Humayun Ahmed’s.” But he claimed it is an accepted practice in the literature.

“A lot of new writers are influenced by Humayun Ahmed’s writing. It’s true that people use that against me because my writing is simple and can connect with the masses. But my work is not like Humayun’s Ahmed. I certainly don’t copy his work.”

Sadat believes that writing is a natural process and not something that can be taught in the classroom. As he explained, “Some may suggest that you have to read hundreds of books before you can write, but that’s not always true. Some people read voraciously but are unable to put their thoughts into words. The first writer, on the other hand, did not read before writing.”

He encourages people to read, but he doesn’t believe that reading alone will lead to a career as a writer.

He also cautioned budding authors. “A writer has to learn which criticism will do it and which will break it. You also have to have the ability to withstand criticism, a lot!”

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