Kannal Achuthan

The mega fair will have about 375 stalls

The special feature this year is a display of about 200 Tamil booksThe Voluntary Health Services will hold a blood donation camp

CHENNAI: It is that time of the year again when book lovers make a beeline for the Quaid-e-Milleth College grounds.

The 29th Chennai Book Fair, organised by the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI), will be inaugurated on January 6. The exhibition will be open to the public till January 16 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

This year's theme is 'Books for All.' The logo, which has a family with all members and even the pet puppy engrossed in books, has already appeared on bill boards advertising the fair.

"The fair will have about 375 stalls. We expect 11 lakh - 12 lakh books to be sold," BAPASI president Gandhi Kannadasan said. Last year, 7 - 9 lakh books were sold.

Special feature

The special feature this year is a display of about 200 Tamil books, translated from all Indian languages and English.

A multimedia section of stalls offering software in Tamil and English is another unique addition.

"We have also invited two leading publishers of competitive exam guide books from Delhi," Mr. Kannadasan said.

The Voluntary Health Services will hold a blood donation camp. BAPASI has also invited M.V.Diabetes Centre to hold free screening camps on January 8 and 15 as last year's camp during the fair benefited several people who had not realised that they had diabetes.

Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Speaker K. Kalimuthu will inaugurate the fair. Awards will be presented to the Sudha Murthy (Best Author in English), K. Vikraman (Best Author in Tamil), Chellaganapathy (Best Children's Author), Higginbothams (Best Bookseller) and Bharathi Padhipagam (Best Publisher in Tamil).

Book release functions, lectures and cultural events such as poetry sessions and debates will be held every evening. "Drawing and oratorical competitions for school and college students will be organised. There is also a quiz contest for the public," said BAPASI Secretary R.S. Shanmugam.

Entrance fee for the fair is Rs 5. Children below 12 are allowed free entry.