A highlight at the Thiruvananthapuram Book Fair will be the French Book Section

“Children's literature is one of the fastest growing industries,” says Robin de Cruz, Director of the Kerala State Institute of Children's Literature (KSICL). What a reassuring thought. This should be reason enough to visit the book section devoted to children's literature being organised by KSICL, Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum and the French Book Office, India.

Workshop

Held over nine days, the Thiruvananthapuram Book Fair organised by KSICL usually coincides with the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival. A highlight will be the French Book Section, especially a workshop for illustrators and artists of children's books in Kerala, to be held on December 20.

The workshop will be conducted by a French delegation of artists and publishers, namely Charlotte Moundlic, art director of Flammarion Publishers / Père Castor, Sophie Giraud, director and publisher, Hélium Publishers and Alix Willaert, head of productions, Albin Michel Publishers.

Judith Oriol, head of the French Book Office, says that one of the main aims of this initiative is to promote a vibrant dialogue between children's literature scene in India and France. Around 15 artists from Kerala are expected to participate in the workshop, confirms De Cruz. The workshop will culminate in a book, which would be published by the State Children's Literature Institute later. Besides encouraging this artistic exchange of ideas, the section will also include an interactive discussion of publishing rights – a subject rarely discussed at other Indian Book Fairs, says De Cruz.

The ‘rights table' has been part of the fair since last year, as a joint initiative of the German Book Office and Frankfurt Book Fair. This year, Oriol will also engage in this ‘Table Ronde' on the subject of ‘Exchange of rights', since one of the aims of the book office is to mediate in obtaining rights to French books for Indian publishers who would like to translate and publish French literature in India.

The Tagore Publication Assistance Programme, for example, is one of the main support programmes for Indian publishers who wish to publish French books in Indian languages.

De Cruz believes that the reading habit is on the rise amongst children, contrary to popular belief. If true, it would be certainly be interesting to visit the book fair during these days to see how French and Malayalam connect to entertain young readers. A fitting way to celebrate the holiday season.