However, there is a ray of hope because individual distributors may sell books of Pakistani writers like Kishwar Naheed and Fazle Haq Qureshi.

With the annual Delhi Book Fair all set to commence on August 23, Federation of Indian Publishers president Sudhir Malhotra is in a bind as participation of Pakistani publishers has still not been confirmed.

Exasperated over non availability of information in this regard, Mr. Malhotra said: “On our (FIP) part, we had despatched letters in hard copies as well as e-mail to publishers from the neighbouring country. We have not been able to contact the Indian High Commission or individual publishers. I was expecting an answer on Wednesday but so far nothing is clear.”

Mr. Malhotra said bibliophiles in India are voracious readers of books authored by prolific writers like the legendary Saadat Hassan Manto, whose birth centenary was celebrated in India and Pakistan last year.

“Generally, readers scout for books in Pakistani pavilion. Last year, Sheikh Mobarak Ali, a publisher from the neighbouring country, informed me that all his books were purchased during the first few days of the fair. This year, readers may not be able to purchase books of their favourite Pakistani authors because book publishers from the neighbouring country are facing visa problem.”

However, there is a ray of hope because individual distributors may sell books of Pakistani writers like Kishwar Naheed and Fazle Haq Qureshi.

Participants

Foreign participants in the 19 edition of the book fair will be from China, the United States and Iran.

This year, FIP president is expecting a huge footfall during the nine-day-long book fair because “students are generally relaxed at this time of the year and there are a couple of holidays”.

Apart from books in English, there wide be a wide assortment of books in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Punjabi, Urdu and some other regional languages. “Readers will also get to read books of their favourite authors in their mother tongue.”

Indian publishers from Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Jharkhand have also confirmed their participation.

On the difference between the “New Delhi World Book Fair” and this one, FIP president said while the former is more of a business-to-business event, this one caters only to readers.

This year, all eyes would be on the translation rights as Chinese publishers participating in the Delhi Book Fair have been negotiating with their Indian counterparts.

Organised by FIP in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation, the fair will also focus on the role of libraries in the growth of readership.

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