Mitia is a business graduate and has completed the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford. She holds the position of Executive Director at Agamee Prakashani, a leading publishing company in Bangladesh that specializes in both fiction and non-fiction titles. Mitia founded Mayurpankhi, a children’s book publishing company, in 2014 with a catalogue that features a vibrant collection of captivating and exciting books tailored for the new generation of young readers in Bangladesh. The company has been honored with awards twice for publishing the highest number of quality books for children in the country.

Mitia’s dedication to the publishing industry has led her to participate as a guest, fellow, and delegate in numerous international publishing events, conferences, and book fairs across the globe. She actively engages in these platforms to exchange ideas, collaborate with industry professionals, and contribute to the growth and development of children’s literature on an international scale.


  1. What inspired you to get into publishing? Did you grow up in a house surrounded by books?

My passion for publishing was deeply influenced by my father, Osman Gani, who is the owner of Agamee Prakashani, one of the largest publishing houses in Bangladesh. Growing up in a family that cherished books, I was surrounded by a rich literary environment that fostered my love for reading from a very young age. Our home was frequented by prominent authors and artists who were not distant celebrities, but rather familiar faces and mentors. At the time, I had no understanding of their social and literary stature, as they were simply my ‘uncles’ or ‘aunties.’

As I progressed through my education, I naturally gravitated towards assisting my father in the publishing industry. It was during this period that I developed a keen interest in the intricacies of bookmaking. Witnessing the transformation of a raw manuscript into a polished book, observing the craftsmanship involved in creating captivating covers, exploring various layouts and designs, and appreciating the artistic elements such as illustrations and binding techniques all fascinated me. I found myself captivated by the exceptional work and the tremendous effort that goes into each aspect of the publishing process.


  1. You currently work in 2 publishing companies, one specializing in children’s books. Why did you decide to launch your own children’s publishing company and how do you split your time between them?

I decided to launch my own children’s publishing company due to my passion for children’s books, which were not extensively published by my father’s company specializing in literary fiction and non-fiction. The allure of picture books, with their ability to transport readers to magical worlds, deeply fascinated me. Their simplicity and timeless appeal inspired me to embark on this venture.

Despite facing skepticism from others who questioned the need for another publishing house, I remained steadfast in my vision. At the age of 25, I chose to pursue my dream of establishing a children’s publishing company rather than conforming to societal expectations. This decision was met with mixed reactions, including doubts from some family members who had long awaited news of my marriage.

However, my unwavering determination and inspiring dream propelled me forward. I recognized the challenges of simultaneously managing both my own publishing company and my involvement in my father’s business. Thankfully, I have the support of dedicated colleagues in both organizations, which lightens the load.

While my father continues to lead our trade publishing company, Agamee Prakashani, I take charge of the foreign rights section, allowing me to focus primarily on my children’s publishing venture. This focus includes a strong emphasis on publishing Bengali picture books, bringing the magic of storytelling to young readers in their native language.


  1. How is the publishing industry in Bangladesh today? Where do your companies fit into the landscape?

The publishing industry in Bangladesh today is indeed smaller in scale compared to what one might envision based on the country’s population. While Bangladesh has a significant population, the publishing industry is still developing and growing. It faces various challenges, including limited resources, infrastructure, and distribution networks.

In this landscape, my companies play a significant role. Agamee Prakashani holds a prominent position as one of the largest publishing houses in Bangladesh. It has a strong presence and reputation within the local market, catering to readers interested in these genres.

On the other hand, Mayurpankhi fills a unique niche. By focusing on children’s books, particularly Bengali picture books, we aim to contribute to the growth of children’s literature in Bangladesh. We strive to provide quality content and engaging stories that resonate with young readers, nurturing their love for reading from an early age. Our company brings a fresh perspective and innovative ideas to the local publishing scene, aiming to inspire and captivate young minds.

In 2022, both our publishing houses received prestigious awards from the Bangla Academy, the country’s apex body to promote literature, for publishing the highest number of quality books for both general readers and children.

While the overall publishing industry in Bangladesh may be relatively small, our companies are working diligently to expand its horizons. We seek to enrich the literary landscape by promoting diverse voices, encouraging reading habits, and contributing to the cultural development of the country. As we participate in international book fairs, we hope to showcase the unique offerings of the Bangladeshi publishing industry and foster collaborations that can further elevate the reach and impact of our works globally.


  1. You are keen on creating a reading for pleasure culture – what is the current situation for kids’ reading, and can you see it improving?

The current situation for kids’ reading in Bangladesh presents a mixed picture. Limited access to books, particularly in underserved areas and among disadvantaged communities, poses a significant challenge. Additionally, the prevalence of digital entertainment and distractions competes with traditional reading habits.

Despite these obstacles, efforts are underway to improve the situation. Various organizations, including publishers, educators, and community groups, are actively promoting reading among children through book donation drives, mobile libraries, and reading campaigns.

While challenges persist, there is optimism for the future. By addressing issues of book accessibility, implementing reading initiatives, and embracing technology, we can foster a reading culture that resonates with children and instills a lifelong love for books.


  1. What are your plans and aspirations for future publishing?

My future plans and aspirations for publishing center around pushing the boundaries of creativity, diversity, and inclusivity in children’s literature in Bangladesh. I aim to discover and nurture talented emerging authors and illustrators, providing them with a platform to showcase their unique voices and perspectives. Embracing technology, I plan to explore new formats and interactive storytelling methods while preserving the enchantment of printed books. Ultimately, my goal is to have a lasting positive impact on children’s lives, fostering a lifelong love for reading and empowering the next generation to shape their hearts, minds, and imaginations through the power of stories.


  1. What are you most proud of in your career so far?

In my career as a children’s book publisher, my greatest source of pride lies in the positive impact I have made on the lives of young readers. Through carefully curating and publishing captivating children’s literature, I have nurtured a love for reading and learning in numerous children. It brings me immense joy to know that I have played a part in sparking their imagination, expanding their knowledge, and shaping their worldview.

Moreover, I take pride in the collaborative relationships I have developed with talented authors, illustrators, translators, and the publishing team. Together, we have brought these stories to life, combining our creative efforts to create meaningful and engaging books for children. Witnessing the growth and success of the authors and illustrators I have worked with fills me with a deep sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

Ultimately, knowing that I have made a difference in the lives of young readers and contributed to their literary journey is what I cherish the most in my career as a children’s book publisher.


  1. What have you learnt from travelling around international publishing events?

Traveling around international publishing events has been a tremendous learning experience for me. Firstly, it has exposed me to the global nature of the publishing industry and the diverse perspectives and approaches that exist in different parts of the world. Interacting with publishers, authors, agents and other publishing professionals from various countries has helped me understand the nuances and cultural influences that shape the publishing landscape.

One important lesson I’ve learned is the significance of collaboration and networking in the publishing world. I have made lots of friends from different parts of the world. Attending these events has provided me with opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, forge valuable relationships, and exchange ideas. I have witnessed the power of collaboration in fostering innovation, sharing best practices, and navigating the evolving trends and challenges of the industry.

Furthermore, traveling to these events has deepened my understanding of the global market and the importance of cultural sensitivity. Each region has its unique literary traditions, market dynamics, and reader preferences.

These experiences have reinforced the need for adaptability and embracing change in the publishing industry. Technology advancements, evolving reader habits, and market shifts require publishers to be nimble and open to experimentation. Witnessing firsthand the innovations and strategies employed by publishers around the world has taught me the importance of staying adaptable and embracing new approaches.


  1. Are there many women in publishing in Bangladesh, and if so, what is the situation like for women in senior positions?

Regrettably, the publishing industry in Bangladesh is still largely dominated by men. The majority of publishing houses are owned and operated by men, creating a gender imbalance within the industry. While there has been a gradual improvement in the situation for women working in publishing, progress has been slow.

Reflecting on my own experience, when I initially entered the industry 15 years ago, there were only a handful of women working in publishing. Due to the nature of the family business, I was among the few women involved. However, in recent years, I have observed a slight increase in the number of women joining the industry, but it is still a relatively small proportion. The presence of women in senior positions remains limited.

The underrepresentation of women in senior positions highlights the need for greater gender diversity and inclusivity within the publishing industry. Efforts should be made to create equal opportunities and empower women to take on leadership roles, allowing their voices and perspectives to shape the future of publishing in Bangladesh.

While progress is being made, there is still work to be done to achieve a more balanced and inclusive representation of women in senior positions within the publishing industry in Bangladesh.


  1. What advice would you give to young women wishing to start a publishing company?

To young women starting a publishing company, my advice is to stay focused, determined, and resilient. Educate yourself about the industry, build a strong network, and seek mentorship. Develop a clear vision and differentiate yourself. Embrace technology, seek partnerships, and believe in your capabilities. Overcome obstacles with passion and purpose.


  1. What motivates and interests you outside of publishing?

Outside of publishing, I am motivated and interested in various pursuits. One of my passions is traveling and exploring different cultures. Immersing myself in new environments, trying new cuisines, and connecting with people from diverse backgrounds fuels my sense of curiosity and broadens my perspective.

I also find solace and inspiration in nature. Spending time outdoors, whether it’s hiking in the mountains, walking along the beach, or simply enjoying a peaceful moment in a park, helps me recharge and find a sense of balance amidst the busyness of life.

Another area of interest for me is the arts. I derive great joy and inspiration from exploring art galleries and experiencing various forms of artistic expression. Whether it’s appreciating paintings, sculptures, photography, or attending theater performances, the arts stimulate my imagination and allow me to delve into different perspectives and narratives.

Furthermore, reading books beyond the realm of publishing is a source of intellectual stimulation for me. Exploring diverse genres, both fiction and non-fiction, expands my knowledge, deepens my understanding of the human experience, and exposes me to new ideas and viewpoints.