Students of creative writing at the UK university will study, “I am Sheikh Mujib”, an epic monologue written by Bengali-Swedish poet Anisur Rahman. At the same time, students of acting and theatre design will investigate it as part of their course programme Autumn 2021.
A European reading and writing promotion platform, write4word, is coordinating the celebration in collaboration with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the Swedish Centre for Literature in Uppsala, according a statement from the university’s Dylan Thomas International Summer School.
As part of this endeavour, Anisur has been invited to Wales to deliver lectures to creative writing and theatre students in September 2021. He is also scheduled to take part in a series of events during his visit to Wales. The itinerary includes an international hybrid poetry stage; meeting with the Board of Wales PEN Cymru; meeting with Literature Wales – the national body responsible for literature promotion Wales; a seminar with Wales’ most translated Welsh language poet Menna Elfyn and representatives of the National Theatre of Wales.
Regarding the epic monologue, University of Wales creative writing lecturer Dominic Williams said: “The format/delivery then becomes almost a stream of consciousness as well as conscience. Rahman plays with the concept of time. Almost the entire monologue is set in the present tense; whether that present is during the time of Sheikh Mujib’s incarceration, during his childhood or in a present that is so contemporaneous to the reader’s perspective that it becomes the future.”
This epic monologue has previously been presented at different theatres and universities in Africa, Asia and Europe in diverse languages including Jahangirnagar University, Kisii University, Lund University and Wiks folkhögskola.
International publishing house Dracopis Press is publishing its English edition simultaneously in the US and Europe this year. Recently, a leading theatre in Kathmandu called the One World Theatre premiered the play in Nepalese and English languages.
The epic monologue, originally written in Bengali, depicts the 20th century freedom struggle in the Indian subcontinent through the voice of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman - from British colonial times to the first tentative years of independent Bangladesh under his leadership. Along the way, this political struggle was, to a large extent, also about the right to use one's own language.
arts.bdnews24.com first published this epic piece in 2016 and Dhaka-based publishing house Ananya Prokashoni published its original Bengali edition in 2017.
Educated from Dhaka University and Stockholm University, Anisur works for the Uppsala Centre for Literature, where he also leads the creative writing programme.
He is heavily involved in literary and cultural debates in media houses such as bdnews24.com, unt.se and anisur.net.
His authorship is based in Bangladesh and Scandinavia. A Swedish Writers’ Union board member, his literary works include prose, poetry, play, novel, short story and books for children.