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.
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.
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.“
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 firstname.lastname@example.org