The grounds of St. John’s Vestry Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School wore a carnival look on Monday as a large number of visitors thronged the ongoing book fair organised here by the district administration.
Featuring at least 150 stalls of English and Tamil books sold by publishing houses and bookshops, the 10-day fair seems to be dominated by Tamil historical fiction, thanks to the upcoming Mani Ratnam epic Ponniyin Selvan, based on the eponymous novel by Kalki Krishnamurthy.
“College and school children in Karur, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam and Tiruchi districts are picking up copies of Ponniyin Selvan mainly driven by curiosity about the star-studded film,” a representative of Chennai publisher Naatham Geetham Books told The Hindu.
The Tiruchi Writers’ Forum is serving as a one-stop stall for books written by at least 65 authors from the district. “We have got a wide range of topics on offer this year. The books are affordably priced, to encourage more writers to come forward with their works,” said forum executive member and Thirukkural expert S. Muruganantham.
Children’s books form a large part of the fair’s offerings. With online learning now in vogue, Chennai-based Info Media Education platform has brought software-based lesson modules in Tamil for students of different engineering disciplines, computer science, architecture and multimedia. “The push on digital literacy and Tamil language proficiency has guided us in designing these learning materials, which help students to study at their own pace. We also have time-bound certificate courses available through our website,” said a company sales staff.
Many book buyers were seen struggling to carry their purchases as plastic bags were in short supply. “We are unable to replace the plastic bags with cloth ones, because they are too costly, so customers must ideally bring their own,” said a salesman at a busy children’s books stall.
Literary events featuring motivational talks and interactions are being held on the sidelines in the evenings. The book fair is on from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily and is scheduled to end on September 26.