Fellow, Poet, Columnist, Novelist

Taslima NasrinTaslima Nasrin is a Bengali author and former physician who has lived in exile since 1994. From a literary profile as a poet in the late 1980s, she rose to global fame by the end of the 20th century owing to her essays and novels with feminist views and criticism of Islam in particular and of religion in general.

Since leaving Bangladesh in 1994 on account of threat calls, she has lived in many countries; as of June 2011 she lives in New Delhi. She works to build support for ; secular humanism, freedom of thought, equality for women, and human rights by publishing, lecturing, and campaigning.

Nasrin started writing poetry when she was thirteen. While still at college in Mymensingh, she published and edited a literary magazine, SeNjuti(“Light in the dark”), from 1978 to 1983. She published her first collection of poems in 1986. Her second collection,Nirbashito Bahire Ontore (“Banished within and without”) was published in 1989. She succeeded in attracting a wider readership when she started writing columns in late 1980s, and, in the early 1990s, she began writing novels, for which she has won significant acclaim. In all, she has written more than thirty books of poetry, essays, novels, short stories, and memoirs, and her books have been translated into 20 different languages.

Nasrin’s life is the subject of a number of plays and songs, in the east and the west. The Swedish singer Magoria sang “Goddess in you, Taslima,” and the French band Zebda composed “Don’t worry, Taslima” as a homage. Her work has been adapted for TV and even turned into music. Jhumur was a 2006 TV serial based on a story written especially for the show. Bengali singers like Fakir Alamgir, Samina Nabi, Rakhi Sen sang her songs. Steve Lacy, the jazz soprano saxophonist, met Nasrin in 1996 and collaborated with her on an adaptation of her poetry to music. The result, a “controversial” and “compelling” work called The Cry, was performed in Europe and North America. Initially, Nasrin was to recite during the performance, but these recitations were dropped after the 1996 Berlin world premiere because of security concerns.