The 31st edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) is all set to return as physical event after two years. It will take place in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, this weekend. The last physical edition of the festival took place in January 2020, after which the covid-19 pandemic-related prompted the event to switch to a virtual form. The fair is organised by the National Book Trust (NBT), an autonomous organisation established by the Government of India.
This year’s event is themed around ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' and is hosting France as the guest country. In a press note, NBT director Yuvraj Malik stated that the fair will mark India’s 75 years of Independence. "More than 750 titles on freedom fighters and the national movement will be displayed in all major Indian languages and English,” he added.
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This is a must-attend for bibliophiles, who are eager to add to their reading lists, simply walk around in the company of aspiring writers and readers, or listen to authors' discussions. Here are five reasons to check out this book fair:
With nearly 1,000 publishers and exhibitors from over 30 countries participating in the book fair, readers can discover new literary voices. Renowned authors such as Vikram Sampath, Preeti Shenoy, and Anand Neelakantan will enter into dialogues, panel discussions, and book launches at the fair.
Various halls will also feature authors’ corners, titled ‘Reflections & Conversations,’ ‘Lekhak Manch’ and ‘Sahitya Manch,’ and these will host literary activities, and act as a meeting place for the visitors.
Special lecture by Nobel prize winner Annie Ernaux
Annie Ernaux, the 82-year-old author of books such as The Years and Getting Lost, was awarded the Nobel for the "courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory" in 2022. This will be her maiden visit to India as part of which she will deliver a special lecture at the book fair venue.
She will be leading the 16-member French delegation, which includes several popular contemporary writers across literary genres, including feminist author Camille Laurens, children's writer Susie Morgensten, and graphic novelist Simon Lamouret, according to PTI. The delegation also includes more than 60 publishers, literary agents and cultural representatives.
About 10 French publishers will meet their Indian counterparts “to learn about Indian publishing markets and exchange rights between the two countries.”
Exclusive events for children
Two events are aimed at making the event inclusive for children. The Children’s Pavilion has been designed with activities that will focus on activities promoting children’s literature and reading habits such as skits, dramas, street plays, musical presentations, storytelling sessions, workshops, and panel discussions, according to the NBT website. Well-known writers and illustrators will conduct these activities for teachers and children from government and private schools or non-governmental organisations as well as those associated with the children’s literature or reading promotional activities.
The children’s corner, a first of its kind by NBT will a create space for published child authors who will discuss their books, writing inspirations and role models.
Interactions with young writers
As part of a scheme launched by the Ministry of Education, ‘YUVA-Prime Minister’s Scheme for Mentoring Young Authors,’ to train young and budding authors, 75 young writers chosen through the All India Contest and mentored by established authors, will have their books ready for launch at the fair, according to the official website. They will interact with visitors and other panellists in the specially designed YUVA corner. It’s an opportunity for book lovers to have a conversation about writing and book publishing.
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Various cultural events
The cultural presentations by organisations such as Song and Drama Division, and Sahitya Kala Parishad will be held at the fair. The literary event will feature more than 50 cultural programmes such as open mics, performances by Army and Police bands, talk shows, and folk performances, according to PTI. A special postal stamp will be released by the National Book Trust to mark 50 years of the book fair.
The book fair is scheduled from 25 February to 5 March in newly constructed Halls 2-5 GF at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The tickets ₹10 for children and ₹20 for adults, while entry is free for school children, differently-abled and senior citizens.
(With inputs from PTI)