Centenary celebrations galore at World Book Fair

New Delhi: Centenary celebrations will be the highlight of the 20th World Book Fair that starts here Feb 25 with the spotlight on 100 years of Indian cinema and 100 years of Delhi - as well as 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore.

The nine-day fair will have a theme-based exhibition - Point of View: One Hundred Years of Indian Cinema - to celebrate the relationship between literature and cinema.

The fair will feature 1,300 exhibitors from across the world with 2,500 kiosks and 140 book-related events, said M.A. Sikander, director of the National Book Trust (NBT) that has organised the event.

"The theme of the exhibition will be the unique relationship of cinema and literature with an exhibition of 300 books, literary discussions, book launches and workshops," he added.

Hosted under the umbrella of the human resource development ministry, the World Book Fair will be inaugurated by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal at the Pragati Maidan.

The ceremony will be presided over by Manoj Das, professor at the Sri Aurobindo University in Pondicherry, and Mridula Mukherjee, professor at the Centre for Historical Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The fair will host at least 30 foreign publishers and delegations from countries like Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Germany, UAE, China, France, Iran and Britain.

The fair will be spread across 45,000 square metres in 10 of the 12 exhibition halls of the Pragati Maidan with separate enclosures for different categories of books.

"We have invited 1,000 children from about 30 schools and hired student volunteers from Delhi University who will guide the children with curated walks at the fair. It will be a part of scholastic assignment for them," Sikander told the media at the briefing in the capital.

A special priced catalogue of the 300 books collected from various archives will be on sale for buyers to chose from and "then approach the respective publishers to purchase the titles," Sikander said.

Sibal will release three braille books on cinema for the visually challenged at the inaugural day.

Aslo two special volumes on art of acting and the influence of Urdu on Hindi movies – ‘Johare Adakari’ and ‘Urdu and Bollywood’ - will be released Feb 29.

There will be discussion on literature and cinema, which will be addressed by academics and senior film personalities who are associated in adapting Indian literature into cinema.

A special pavilion will commemorate 100 years of Delhi as the capital of India and a Tagore pavilion will display 150 years of the poet`s life.

"One of the business highlights of the fair is the right`s table for international trade negotiations - `Right`s Table: A Forum of Indian Publishers`- to exchange copyrights of books will be convened for the first time. It will be supported by the German Book Office and the French government. Countries like France and Russia, who share cultural similarities with India, are keen to buy rights for Hindi books from us," Sikander said.

The event will also take the issue of pricing books. NBT official said with writers demanding more royalty sometime as high as 50 percent and print runs decreasing, publishers were finding it difficult to "price books reasonably".

"The Rights Table will help publishers deal directly with rights, buyers and address issues of piracy, copyrights and pricing," Sikander said.

Besides, the fair will also discuss e-books and sell digital books.

A two-day national seminar on translation - Indian Literature Tower of Babel: Cross Translation Among Indian Languages will be held March 1-2.


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