The Rebel Poet of Bengal Kazi Nazrul Islam is remembered for his vast body of literary work, including poems and songs written during the British Raj, mostly laced with socio-political overtones. His songs, known as Nazrul Geeti, are the staple for any Bengali household. He is also Bangladesh’s national poet.
Taslima Nasrin is a Bangladeshi-Swedish writer, feminist, physician, activist, and secular humanist. An internationally recognized author, Nasrin is renowned for expressing feminist views and her criticisms of religions. Taslima Nasrin is a recipient of many prestigious awards such as the Sakharov Prize, Freethought Heroine Award, and Erwin Fischer Award.
Lalon, also known as Lalon Fakir, or Lalon Shah, was an iconic Baul saint, considered a symbol of Bengali culture. Since his poems and songs belonged to the oral tradition, they weren’t published during his lifetime. Eventually, Rabindranath Tagore published about 200 songs from one of Lalon’s manuscripts.
Award-winning Bangladeshi poet Rudra Mohammad Shahidullah began writing poems early in his life, publishing his first two collections long before he acquired his master’s degree from the University of Dhaka. Remembered for his revolutionary as well as romantic poems, he died of depression and substance abuse, leaving a suicide poem, Bhalo Achi Bhalo Theko, for his ex-wife Taslima Nasrin.
Marzuk Russell is a noted Bangladeshi lyricist, poet, model, and actor, born a year after his country’s liberation from Pakistani rule. He began writing poems while in the eighth grade, debuting as a lyrist in late 1990s and as an actor in 2000; he published his first collection of poems in the same year.
Bangladeshi poet and author Jasimuddin, also known as Polli Kobi, or The Rural Poet, was one of the key figures of the Bengali language movement. Best known for his lyric poems such as Nakshi Kanthar Math, and for his use of Bengali folklore, he created a stir by rejecting the Bangla Academy Award.
Rubana Huq is a Bangladeshi poet, university academic, and businesswoman. She was included in BBC's 100 Women list in 2013 and 2014. In 2014, she was also honored by The Daily Star with the Bangladesh Business Award under the Outstanding Business Women of The Year category. Rubana Huq is currently serving as the Asian University for Women's Vice-chancellor.
Sufia Kamal was a Bangladeshi poet, activist, and feminist leader. Kamal led the feminist activism in Bangladesh and served as the president of a women's human rights organization called Bangladesh Mahila Parishad. She received prestigious awards, including the Bangla Academy Literary Award for Literature. After her demise, she became the first Bangladeshi woman to be honored with a state funeral.
Ahmed Sofa was a Bangladeshi writer, novelist, poet, public intellectual, philosopher, and thinker. Counted among the most prominent and greatest Bengali Muslim writers of all time, Sofa and his works continue to influence and inspire many writers, painters, filmmakers, intellectuals, and artists. Ahmed Sofa’s works have influenced popular personalities like Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, Humayun Ahmed, Farhad Mazhar, and Tareque Masud.
Shamsur Rahman was a Bangladeshi poet, journalist, and columnist. Widely regarded as an important figure in Bengali literature, Rahman was considered Bangladesh's unofficial poet laureate. A prolific writer, he produced over 60 books of poetry collection. Shamsur Rahman was honored with several prestigious awards like the Bangla Academy Literary Award, Adamjee Award, Swadhinata Dibosh Award, Ekushey Padak, and Ananda Puroshker.
Humayun Azad was a Bangladeshi poet, short-story writer, novelist, columnist, critic, and linguist. In 1986, he was honored with the Bangla Academy Literary Award for his immense contributions to Bengali linguistics. Apart from writing over 60 titles, he also served as a professor at The University of Dhaka. In 2012, Humayun Azad was honored posthumously with the prestigious Ekushey Padak.
Farhad Mazhar is a Bangladeshi poet, writer, columnist, philosopher, human and social rights activist, pharmacist, and environmentalist. He is credited with co-founding a non-governmental organization called UBINIG, which aims at promoting social rights and responsibilities. Farhad Mazhar is currently serving as the managing director of the organization.
Known as one of the modern poets of Bangladesh, Shahabuddin Nagari soared to fame in the 1970s and gained prominence as a lyricist. The Kabitalap Award winner also served as a Bangladesh government bureaucrat. He had also been part of the liberation war of Bangladesh.
Jahanara Arzu is a Bangladeshi poet best known for her work as the founding editor of a popular publication called Sultana. Jahanara Arzu's immense contribution to Bengali literature earned her the prestigious Ekushey Padak in 1987.