Kolkata: Seven books penned by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were released at the 39th International Kolkata Book Fair, which she inaugurated Tuesday alongside British radio and television presenter and journalist Anita Anand.
The books - five in Bengal, and one each in English and Urdu - were launched by Anand at the inaugural programme of the mega event at the Milan Mela ground.
Banerjee later said the number of books authored by her has now gone up to 53.
Speaking on the occasion, she said the book fair has a prestige associated with it.
"The book fair is a matter of pride for us. We love the book fair. The book fair is a meeting place for book sellers, publishers, readers and authors.
"One day Bengal will be the meeting ground for entire world," she said.
The chief minister also underscored the need for freedom of expression. "You may not like certain things but freedom of expression is very important."
Anand, who rang the ceremonial bell along with the chief minister to formally open the book fair, lauded the city for its love of beauty and books.
"Such events present magnificent opportunities for crossover of culture. I applaud this city for their love of beauty and books," said Anand, who was "overwhelmed by the generosity and spirit" of the people of Kolkata.
The latest edition of the popular book fair - being branded as a festival of ideas- has Britain as the theme country, and the focus would be on literary works from the nation and its contribution to literature.
A special segment celebrates William Shakespeare's 450th birth anniversary and Welsh poet Dylan Thomas's 100th birth anniversary.
The fest, set to run till Feb 8, has drawn publishers from several countries including Bangladesh.
Rob Lynes, director, British Council India and litterateur Nemai Bhattacharyya were present at the inaugural ceremony.