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2nd largest Book Fair of the world kicks off

30 January, 2023 12:45:48
2nd largest Book Fair of the world kicks off

Books and Bengal are inseparable. Hence no wonder the world’s 2nd largest book fair is held every year in Kolkata with great pomp and honour where hundreds of books from across the world are sold, bought, read, turning it into an intellectual melting point. This year’s International Kolkata Book Fair 2023 is bigger and with more innovations. It is so huge that it will have 700 book stalls, enhanced CCTV coverage, a few kiosks funded by the national jute board to limit plastic waste, a separate bus terminal for tourists, a security watchtower, and bio-toilets. And what’s more, from across the world, one can participate and view the events through the IKBF websites that will stream live coverage of the book fair activities this year.

The book fairground is just second to the Frankfurt Book Fair of Germany with 200 Little Magazine stands and 700 book stalls among the 900 exhibitors. This year the second-largest book expo in the world will be inaugurated by Hon’ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at 2:00 p.m. on January 30 in the presence of Mara José Gálvez Salvador, director general of books and reading promotion for the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sports as Spain is the theme country this year.

Well-known Bengali novelist, Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay will receive the CESC RP Goenka Shrishti Samman as part of the Lifetime Achievement Award.Visitors will be allowed from January 31-February 12. Between February 9-11, there will be a Literature Festical with Spain serving as the event’s focus nation.At least 20 nations worldwide will participate in the book expo, and countries like Thailand will attend the expo for the first time.

Tridib Kumar Chatterjee, General Secretary of the Booksellers and Publishers Guild, the fair’s organizer, said: “This year the Guild had given booths to more new small and medium publishers. The IBKF 23 will include nine entry and exit gates for simple visitor flow. A copy of Spain’s renowned Toledo Gate will be one such gate along with the Biswabangla Gate.

In honor of the bicentennial of the two great poets of Bengal Michael Madhusudan Dutta and Pyaricharan Sarkar, two halls at the fair have been named after them. To commemorate the centennial of novelist and editor Ramapada Choudhury’s birth, the Little Magazine stalls will bear his name. There will also be two open stages named after the late directors Tarun Majumdar and Mrinal Sen, as well as a WiFi-enabled HDFC ERGO press nook.

But the major attraction of the Book Fair this year will undoubtedly be the Abol Tabol Day, to be celebrated with children in honor of the famed limerick book's 100th anniversary, that was penned by none other than Satyajit Roy's father, Sukumar Roy. The book has been an inspiration for Bengalis down generations.

There will be daily lotteries from which free book gift coupons worth Rs. 15000 each day will be awarded to lottery winners.A book bumper library lottery will also be held as part of a program named ‘buy books and win a book library.’ Several winners will receive book vouchers to purchase books from the fair and build their libraries. There will be free access to broadband services and e-connectivity in some areas of the exhibition.

As Chatterjee pointed out: ‘On the chief minister’s orders, the chief secretary convened a meeting of key players in Nabanna. Representatives from the departments of information and cultural affairs, security, the fire brigade, health, and urban development, the KMDA, Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation and the West Bengal Electricity Board were present at the meeting.’ According to Sudhangshu Sekhar Dey, President of the Publishers and Booksellers Guild, ‘Food booths will be positioned close to the water outlets outside the fairground.’The slogan this year is Boi Porun, Boi Kinun, Boi Upohaar Din (Read Books, Buy Books, Gift Books).


Highlights of the Book Fair:

~ Inauguration on 30th January at 2 pm by Hon’ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee along with the Ms. Maria Jose Galvez Salvador, Director General of Books, Ministry of Culture, Spain in the august presence of Mr. Luis Garcia Montero, Poet & Director of Institute of Cervantes, Spain, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay eminent Bengali author, Ambassador of Spain, Mr. Jose Maria Ridao Dominguez.

~ The book fair will see the highest participation of book publishers and little magazines. Around 950 book publishers will take part in the book fair.

~ Around 20 countries participating including the USA, UK, France, Italy, Japan, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Australia, Iran, Thailand and many more. Bangladesh is coming with around 70 publishers.

~ There will be 9 Gates. The major gates are the Toledo Gate of Madrid, the National Library, the Biswa Bangla Gate of Netaji, Swamiji & Rabindranath, and the Agni Bina Gate.

​~ On the occasion of 100 years of ‘Abol Tabol’ publication, the pavilion will be portrayed with a drawing of Abol Tabol. Thousands of books will be distributed among the children free of cost on the first Sunday, 5 February at 4 pm from the Guild office. This is a tribute to Sukumar Roy.

~ The guild will donate a good number of books to Senior citizens and also among the Specially-abled children during fair days.

~ Spanish Musicians will perform on the evening of 30 January. Dance troupes will perform on the 7thof February evening and another group of singers will perform on 10thevening in the Literary Festival.

~ Bangladesh Day will be celebrated on the 4th February evening from 5.30 pm. Eminent authors from both countries will interact and acclaimed singers and dancers will perform on the stage.

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