New Delhi World Book Fair kicks off today after a two year hiatus

France is the guest of honour at the 31st New Delhi World Book Fair, which will feature workshops, seminars, theatre and performances by army and police bands

February 25, 2023 12:02 pm | Updated 12:45 pm IST

File photo of New Delhi World Book Fair in Pragati Maidan. 
Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

File photo of New Delhi World Book Fair in Pragati Maidan. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

French culture, literature, heritage, and cuisine will be celebrated at the 31st edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF), as France has been invited as the guest of honour to one of the most significant literary events, which is set to begin today in the presence of 2022 Nobel Laureate for Literature, Annie Ernaux.

Organised by the National Book Trust (NBT) in collaboration with the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) at Pragati Maidan, the festival’s theme is Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. To commemorate 75 years of India’s independence, 75 writers — who were selected following a competition and mentored by established authors under the Prime Minister’s YUVA (Young Upcoming Versatile Author) scheme — will launch their books at the nine-day-long fair. Also, 100 books, under the India@75 series published by the NBT in 22 languages, will be released on the occasion.

French author Annie Ernaux, the Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature 2022.

French author Annie Ernaux, the Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature 2022. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Two iconic books, the original copy of the Constitution of India and a semi-burnt diary of Bhagat Singh, are being showcased at the venue. Visitors will be treated to book discussions, special talks, workshops, seminars, launches, meet-the-author sessions, theatre, performances by army and police bands along with other cultural programs.

The main theme pavilion and a special pavilion, highlighting the New Education Policy, have been designed by the National Institute of Design. Another special pavilion has been set up on the 18th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit scheduled to be held in September in Delhi. 

A view of visitors and book lovers selecting their books at a stall, at the New Delhi World Book Fair in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi on January 13, 2018.

A view of visitors and book lovers selecting their books at a stall, at the New Delhi World Book Fair in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi on January 13, 2018. | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

France will be represented by the biggest delegation of house heads from 12 publishing houses and 16 authors across literary genres, including fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and graphic novels. Their pavilion has been designed by French graphic novelist Simon Lamouret to resemble a French bookstore with a café inside.

Speaking ahead of the event,the Ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain, said: “France has one of the densest networks of independent bookstores, and a long tradition of cafés being a meeting point for writers and intellectuals. We want to recreate that ambience here and make it an enjoyable French experience for participants and visitors. The book fair will forge closer links between the authors, publishers and readers of our two countries.“

File photo of visitors at the New Delhi World Book Fair at Pragati Maidan

File photo of visitors at the New Delhi World Book Fair at Pragati Maidan | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Even as technology drives our reading habit nowadays, the number of people who read printed books has not diminished. “Books are fundamental and will always be an integral part of our lives,” says NBT director Yuvraj Malik. He adds, the million-plus visitors at the NDWBF in the past years is testimony to that..

With Indian publishing poised for accelerated growth, the idea is to offer a nurturing business environment to the exhibitors, says NBT Chairman Gopal Sharma. He adds, book lovers will get the opportunity to discover new authors, books published across the globe and engage in knowledge-sharing conversations with writers.  

At Pragati Maidan, Mathura Road. From February 25 to March 5., 11 am to 8 pm. Entry is free for senior citizens, individuals with disability and school students in uniform. The author can be reached at soma.basu@thehindu.co.in

The star attractions
Children’s pavilion: Authors, illustrators and professional story tellers will conduct fun activities to promote reading
Reflections & Conversations, Lekhak Manch, Sahitya Manch will be the seat for panel discussions, book launches for domestic publishers and interactions between authors and book lovers.
Child Authors’ corner will have the young writers discuss their books and talk about their inspiration to write.
International Events Corner is for sharing ideas and enhancing literary understanding with foreign exhibitors, embassies and cultural centres
CEO Speak and the New Delhi Rights Table are B2B events that will help to create new business environment with its unique format. The publishers will interact to understand each other’s market in different countries and present their products and ideas, finalise their interests and agreements for transfer of translation and other rights of books available in different languages.

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