Emerging literary voices from the northeast is the theme of the New Delhi World Book Fair, which begins here today with Singapore being the guest country and South Korea the focus country.
A total of 30 countries are participating in the fair, which began in 1972 and is now considered “a major international event in Asia”.
Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani is scheduled to inaugurate the nine-day fair organised by the National Book Trust (NBT) in association with the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) at Pragati Maidan.
“It is a celebration of books. Our aim is to let people reach the books and feel the books,” A Sethumadhavan, Chairman, NBT said today.
Eminent Hindi writer Narendra Kohli will be the guest of honour for the Fair themed on “Suryodaya: Emerging Voices from Northeast India” which is expected to see discussions, workshops and interactive sessions with authors and illustrators.
The NBT will focus on a rich corpus of writings from the northeastern region, the land and its people. The theme pavilion would also host a series of panel discussions on various aspects of writings, films and history of the region.
“We have been trying to focus on cultural milieu of the northeast and several programmes focusing on northeast will also be organised,” Sethumadhavan said.
In collaboration with FCCI are two events CEOSpeak, a brainstorming session on February 15 on the problems faced by Indian publishing industry, and ‘Rights Table’ on February 16-17, in which 80 participants from India and 27 countries including Bangladesh, Taiwan, Tehran, the US among others will participate.
Also on the cards is a visit by cricketer Virender Sehwag who is slated to interact with visitors at the fair and encourage them to connect with books.
“Our endeavour is to make the Book Fair more interactive. Our primary idea for organising book fairs is to promote reading habit especially among young adults,” M A Sikandar, Director of NBT, said.
Singapore has lined up various literary programmes at ‘Events Corner’ themed on “Diverse Culture Distinct Literature.” Over 10 countries have programmes in the events corner.
“This World Book Fair is important for us as it addresses the main issue the Asian problem. We do not read about each other as our books are not available and are in different languages,” R Ramachandran, Executive Director, National Book Development Council of Singapore, said.