One of the most primitive fairs is back in the city of joy along with its same age-old glory. First organized in 1976, the Kolkata international book fair became a big deal in the 90s. All the leading distributors, authors, and manufacturers attend this fair which attracts a lot of people every year.
This is the 43rd instalment of the fair and the people of Kolkata love to read which makes this event a grand one. It is also Asia's largest book fair.
This year’s distinguishing feature
This year, the fair’s country theme is Guatemala and its inauguration was done by Kolkata's CM Mamata Banerjee and in the presence of Guatemala's ambassador, Prof Eura Morales. This book fair is unique as it is a non-trade fair which means that it is not for wholesale distributors. It attracts about 2 million people almost every year.
A very accessible location
It is being held at the central park mela complex which is located in Salt Lake. The venue has changed over the years and sometimes due to the change, many people have faced problems due to lack of transportation. But this year, the organizers have done their best to resolve this issue. The government has allocated 190 additional buses which can be boarded from Sealdah and Howrah railway station, Bidhannagar, Shyambazar and Behala to reach the venue. This year, the organizers have decided to turn every person into a book lover.
An amalgamation in its true sense
The fair has 600 stalls, a Wi-Fi zone and authors from Russia, Spain, Costa Rica, Bangladesh and more who will be conducting seminars and interactive sessions. This time the venue which has three halls are showcasing various English publications and are being named after Atin Bandhopadhay, Nirendranath Chakraborty and Dibyendu Palit who have passed away recently. There’s also a little magazine pavilion which will be named after Pinaki Thakur.
Few exceptional ones snatching the spotlight
Lepcha Development Board stall
The Mayel Lyang Lepcha development board will also have a stall in the fair to showcase their literature and culture. Like always, there is a CESC corner for eminent guests where a lottery draw will be held on a daily basis and these guests will distribute a gift coupon of ten thousand rupees to the winners for buying books. There will be a stall dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi which will be displaying photocopies of some of his handwritten letters, Bengali notes and some rare books like Harijans, Young India etc which are all based on Gandhi. This is being done in order to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The fair started on 30th January 2019 and will end on the evening of 10th February 2019. People can visit the fair anytime between 12pm and 8pm. Each day will focus on a specific event. The last day of the fair will play host to the Grand Finale of the daily lottery where four lucky winners will be given a book library which is basically a shelf of books worth 1 lakh rupees. This is being done to encourage people to read more and more books which is great considering the fact that people these days are always on their phones browsing memes.