The second South Asian Literature Now conference in Dhaka ended Friday, after two days of discussion on South Asian poetry, language and translation.

Lamenting that,

Various parts of South Asia are still isolated and people know little about their literary works,

Prof Emeritus Rafiqul Islam of the Bangladesh University of Liberal Arts opened the ceremony by addressing the linguistic divide that hinders cultural interaction between neighbouring countries.

The conference, which began on Thursday at the Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad auditorium of the Bangla Academy and ended Friday, was part of the month-long Amar Ekushey Boi Mela, which ends on Wednesday, 28 February.

While the morning sessions were dedicated to discussing the regional problem of literature exchange and the role translators need to play to achieve that end, the afternoon sessions were less academic, with the Friday afternoon given over to poetry while fiction dominated the discussions on the afternoon of Thursday.

Contemporary Asian fiction was the topic of conversation in a staged debate between Bangladeshi writer Firdous Azim and Indian author Aruna Chakrabarty.

Elsewhere discussions were held on South Asia Fiction, and at another talk the focus was on South Asian Theatre, where International Theatre Institute president Ramendu Majumdar presented the keynote speech, with Shafi Ahmed, Nasiruddin Yusuf Bachchu, and Indian theatre personality Anshuman Bhoumick participating.

This post was compiled from a press release from the Bangla Academy, which organized the conference as part of the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela, with additional material sourced from reports in the Bangladesh Daily Star, New Age Bangladesh and Green Watch.