World Book Fairs -Ifrith Islam
Muktodhara, a publishing small company, with initiative of Chittarnjan Saha, started a little sale in front of Bangla Academy in the 21st February 1972. It’s been only two months after Victory Day. At that time the Bangladeshi people were still trying their best to cope up with the aftermath of the war.
Later, other book publishers joined unofficially. Gradually it became official and the most popular book fair of Bangladesh. Bangla Academy took over the organisation of the fair in 1978. After thirteen years, i.e. in 1984 it was named Amar Ekushey Book Fair.
On 1st February 2018, the grand opening of Amar Ekushey Boimela took place in the presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at 3pm. After the opening ceremony, the Prime Minister went for the book inspection from the book stalls. The ceremony was attended by Cultural Minister Asaduzzaman Nur, Dr. Joice Asuntenteng from Cameroon, Ibrahim Elmasri from Egypt and Arne Johnson from Sweden as special guests.
The address of welcome was delivered by the Director General of Bangla Academy Professor Shamsuzzaman Khan and the ceremony was presided over by the Emeritus Professor Anisuzzaman.
This year, the book fair took place on Bangla Academy’s premises spilling onto Suhrawardy Udyan.
Ninety two institutions got the allotment of 136 units, and also in the fair’s extended part in the park 583 units of 363 institutions got space allocation, spreading over about five lakh square feet area. In Suhrawardy Udyan where Bangla Academy got one pavilion that consisted of four units with two stalls — one for children’s book and the other was assigned for literature magazine named Uttoradhikar.
Boimela got decorated with nice sitting arrangements bordered with flower pots or with pot plants. Information booths are set up so that journalists can easily collect info on Boimela and also latest update on the Prime Minister’s Office about unwrapping new books or supplying the info which would popularise the much vaunted ‘Digital Bangladesh’. The facility of free Wi-Fi is in place to attract the youngsters. Bulletins are broadcast directly by Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Radio.
Now we got to know about our book fair which starts on 1st February and continue to 28th February every year since its official birth. Every country around the world organise book fairs that seem to take turn in linear order, but after rounding them up it becomes a cyclic order.
Like many other years book fairs are either being orchestrated or will be taking place around the globe.
New Delhi World Book Fair, India
6 – 14 January
India’s second oldest book fair after the Kolkata Book Fair. In 2018, it was 26th World Book Fair taken with a new theme-environmental issues such as global warming and water pollution.
Jaipur Literature Festival, India
24 – 29 January
The Festival kicked off on 25th January of this year with 380 speakers representing 15 Indian and 20 international languages and three international outposts — in Boulder, New York and London — for size.
This year, among the notable journalists -Alia Malek, the author of The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria was present at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Last year some renowned authors like Shashi Tharoor and Nassim Nicholas Taleb made an appearance at this Festival.
International Kolkata Book Fair, India
30 January – 11 February
It is the world’s third largest annual conglomeration of books after the Frankfurt Book Fair and the London Book Fair and also it is considered as the largest Book Fair in Asia and in the world, by attendance, because the total counted footfalls is over two millions in the world. The fair does not only give the book flavours, but also it is powered with picnickers, singer-songwriters, and candy floss vendors.
Festival International de la BandeDessinée, Angoulême, France
25 – 28 January
Being the second largest and third biggest comic festival in Europe after Lucca Comics & Games in Italy and the Comiket of Japan respectively.
This Festival takes place all over a town is divided in many different areas and the sections are not connected to each other and the attendance estimated around or over 200000 each year, including between 6000-7000 professionals and 800 journalists.
Lahore International Book Fair, Pakistan
1 – 5 February
Lahore International Book Fair is the one of the largest and annually international book fair held at Expo Centre in Johar Town, Lahore, Pakistan. Lahore is the centre of publication of 80% books in Pakistan, and as well as, it is the hub of literacy, educational and cultural activity in Pakistan.
Feria Internacionaldel Libro de La Habana, Cuba
1 – 11 February
Over the years, each book fair is dedicated to a genre, issue, or author and also a guest of honor. According to United Nation, Cuba has the highest literacy rate in the world. Since 2000, each book fair has been dedicated to Cuban authors and intellectuals that are sanctioned by Cuba’s government.
Taipei International Book Exhibition, Taiwan
6 – 11 February
Currently it is the world’s fourth book fair, organized by the Taipei Book Fair Foundation and supervised by the Governmental Information Office and takes place at Taipei World Trade Centre annually.
Casablanca Book Fair, Morocco
8 – 18 February
Casablanca Book Fair is a book fair and as well as a Publishing Fair. In 2018, the 24th Casablanca’s International Book Fair brought together 709 exhibitors from Morocco and around the world.
Perth International Arts Festival, Australia
9 February – 4 March
Australia’s longest running cultural festival is Perth International Art Festival. This festival amuses the audience with various features-contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre, opera, visual arts, and large-scale public works.
Brussels Book Fair, Belgium
22 – 25 February
This book fair only within the family publishing houses because this book fair introduces Belgium’s own culture and young writers to well-known authors and from comics to political science to the attendance.
Vilnius International Book Fair, Lithuania
22– 25 February
This Book Fair is the main annual meeting place of publishers, authors and readers and it also well-known as the biggest and main book Fair in the Baltic countries.
Riga Book Fair, Latvia
23 – 25 February
This Book Fair is the key event for establishing business relationship between the Latvia and foreign publishing companies. Besides, books this fair offers the exhibition of intellectual games that helps to develop reading skills, development and educational aids and also helps to grow the creative hobbies.
Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Dubai, UAE
1 – 10 March
The Festival represents-about 180 bestselling authors, numerous panel discussions and workshops for adults and children and is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, The Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Tempo di Libri, Milan, Italy
8 – 12 March
Leipzig Book Fair, Germany
15 – 18 March
It is the first large trade meeting of the year and the second largest Book Fair in Germany.
Paris Book Fair, France
16 – 19 March
A big cultural event welcoming, 1200 publishers and 2000 authors from 37 countries and offers 500 meetings and 4000 signings.
Alexandrina International Book Fair, Egypt
22 March – 4 April
In 2018, the fourteenth Alexandria International Book Fair to be held.
Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Italy
26 – 29 March
This Book Fair focuses on the children’s books, and is known as the leading professional fair for children’s books in the world.
Bangkok International Book Fair, Thailand
26 March – 9 April
At this fair, the premium quality books and rare books from local and abroad are found. The visitors get the chance to meet their favourite authors from different places.
London Book Fair, UK
10 – 12 April
London Book Fair is a large book-publishing trade fair held annually in London, England. LBF is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels.
Quebec International Book Fair, Canada
11 – 15 April
This International Book Fair is usually held at the Quebec City Convention Center. This book fair aims to attract readers and encourage them to meet with writers from home and abroad.
Bogota International Book Fair, Colombia
17 April – 2 May
It has been one of the most important cultural events in Colombia with about 1000 publishing companies in attendance every year.
Sant Jordi Festival, Barcelona, Spain
The Sant Jordi festival in Barcelona transforms Book Day into an exchange of roses and books only in this Spanish city- that is- another Valentine’s Day turns into Book-with-Rose Lovers Day.
Geneva Book and Press Fair, Switzerland
25 – 29 April
The second largest French-language book fair in the world and the largest in Switzerland and brings together educational publishers from all over Europe for an exchange of ideas and information every year.
Buenos Aires Book Fair, Argentina
26 April – 14 May
The Buenos Aires International Book Fair, Argentina, is one of the top five book expos in the world, oriented to the literary community as well as to the general public.
Eurasian International Book Fair, Astana, Kazakhstan
25 – 28 April
This Fair aimed to unite professionals of publishing and related business from countries of Europe and Asia.
Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, UAE
25 April – 1 May
The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is an annual book fair commenced in 2007 and organized by KITAB. ADIBF forms a part of KITAB marches forward with a motto in mind to bring the Arab and the international publishing communities together.
Thessaloniki Book Fair, Greece
3 – 6 May
Thessaloniki International Book Fair is an institution that brought huge changes to the book world. Only a four day event acts as a collaborating media between the book professionals and the fans.
Strokestown International Poetry Festival, Ireland
3 – 7 May
It was first founded in 1999. Because of its largest attendance, it became famous within a short period of time.
Teheran International Book Fair, Iran
2 – 12 May
It is an international book fair, which is held in a 120000 square meter venue at Tehran’s Grand Prayer Ground annually. The fair features special sections such as the House of Literti that honours the renowned Iranian cultural figures from different disciplines.
Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival, Turkey
dates to be confirmed
The Festival is named after the prominent Turkish poet, novelist, essayist, and critic Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar. It focuses on a variety of genres and plays a great role to bring together writers, publishers, literary translators, critic and journalists for a series of encounters.
Turin International Book Fair, Italy
10 – 14 May
As the Italy’s largest book fair, ever since founded in 1988 as Book Showroom, have more than 1400 exhibitors and 341000 visitors as their historic record.
Warsaw International Book Fair, Poland
14 – 17 May
This Book Fair is the oldest fair in Europe. It includes the collaboration between authors, promotions of books, discussions and concerts etc. in the hope for the exhibitors to establish cooperation and exchange experience.
Book fest, Bucharest, Romania
The Book fest is going to commence on May 24th of this year.
Tbilisi International Book Fair, Georgia
25 – 28 May
Since 1997, Georgian Publishers and Booksellers have been organizing this Fair as a tradition.
Madrid Book Fair, Spain
25 May – 10 June
The Fair started way back in 1933 and it has been growing ever since and is going to celebrate its 77th birthday.
BookExpo America, New York, USA
30 May – 1 June
The BookExpo is the largest book trade fair in America which is usually held in a major city for four day long.
New York Rights Fair, New York, USA
30 May – 1 June
It is an official new name for American publishers and sellers for trading the international rights as well as the distribution and licensing of contents.
Lisbon Book Fair, Portugal
dates to be confirmed
The Lisbon Book Fair, was inaugurated in the 1930s, is one of the oldest cultural festivals held in the capital of Portugal and it carries a great history of time to this day.
Seoul International Book Fair, Korea
dates to be confirmed
This annual event is arranged by Korea Publisher’s Association focuses on the development of strong relationship and promotion of Korea publication abroad.
Lit Link Festival, Croatia
dates to be confirmed
The Lit Link Festival in Croatia is only a three-day tour whose participants are writers, editors and publishers and guests from different countries.
Hong Kong Book Fair, China
18 – 24 July
Hong Kong Trade Development Council organizes this fair annually at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre for publishing, selling and exhibiting books, printed matter, stationery, printing, compact discs and other multimedia publishing etc.
International Book Fair of Lima, Peru
dates to be confirmed
Since 1995, the Camera Peruana del Libroarranges this enormous fair and invites a country of honor to be showcased in a stand and present authors and book from the country.
Paraty International Literary Festival (FLIP), Brazil
Paraty (International Literary Festival of Paraty- FLIP) is a literary festival held yearly since 2003 in the Brazilian seaside city of Paraty, in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
The festival takes place in early July.
Belt and Road Book Fair, Shandong, China
dates to be confirmed
At the 25th annual Book Fair, more than 2,500 exhibitors from 89 countries and regions attend, displaying over 300,000 newly published books.
Beijing International Book Fair, China
22 – 26 August
The Beijing International Book Fair is considered one of the top four International Book fairs in the world because of its growing astounding rate with English Languages, titles, the Chinese govt. has made learning English mandatory for all children.
Melbourne Writers Festival, Australia
24 August – 2 September
It is an annual, ten-day literary festival held in Melbourne, a UNESCO city of literature. For the bookworms who are very eager to read a variety of books, it is going to be very interesting in addition to their thoughts, because there might have been more fairs around the world that haven’t been listed yet, especially the book fairs that take place in September, October, November and also December, as if, the fairs are happening round the clock in different places at different time of the year.
Among the renowned book fairs from these months are South African Book Fair, Beirut, Doha, and Frankfurt from Germany, Santiago from Chile, Dublin, Indonesia, Moscow and Istanbul, Sofia from Bulgaria and Jeddah International Book Fair from Saudi Arabia etc. are not to be left out from the list.
From the study of the arrivals of new books in the Amar Ekushey Book Fair in Dhaka it is apparent that research and religion are the two of the top topics are cold-shouldered. A small number of writers out of around 4000 write on these topics because the writers think research and religion have no use in Bangladesh. Or there is little or no research initiative and inspiration on the part of the universities and particularly of the Bangladesh government that utterly fail the academicians to be research focused. Funds crunch is equally responsible for getting research response from the researchers, scientists and academicians. Literary or creative writing in humanist sciences are popular with the writers who publish and showcase books during the Ekushey Book Fair where nearly 4000 new books arrive on an average. Most of them albeit are 1000 poets, some storytellers, dozens of novelists, several children book writers or a handful dramatists not researchers. If present socio-economic, psycho-political and development perspectives are compared with the current trend of most of the writings and book publications some links between them may be found out easily. Ekushey Book Fair can easily be termed as ‘goalless’ though last year Bangla Academy fair was theme on 60 years of the academy.