Other States

Kolkata Book Fair to return in January 2022

The Kolkata Book Fair in 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Life in the City of Joy largely revolves around two events: Durga Puja, which marks the onset of autumn, and the ‘boi mela’ or book fair, held towards the end of the winter, when people pour out of their homes for a date with the printed word.

While Kolkata didn’t miss out on Durga Puja in spite of the pandemic, though the scale of celebrations was nowhere close to what it used to be during pre-COVID days, it didn’t have the book fair that should have been held in January 2021. Now, after a gap of two years, it is set to be inaugurated on January 31, 2022, and will go on till February 13, the venue being the usual Central Park in Salt Lake City.

“We owe it to the small publishers and to the public. The publishers are on the verge of starvation because there has been no book fair in the past two years.” Tridib Kumar Chatterjee, honorary general secretary of the Publishers’ & Booksellers’ Guild, which organises the Kolkata Book Fair, told The Hindu.

“Not all books are available online and not everybody is capable of ordering books online. A large chunk of the local population depends on the book fair,” he said.

45th edition

This will be the 45th edition of the book fair, and each year a foreign country serves as its theme. Bangladesh was to be the theme for the January 2021 fair, considering the country was celebrating 50 years of its liberation. Since the event was cancelled, it will remain the theme for the 2022 fair.

“The 75th year of Indian Independence, the 125th birth year of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and the birth centenary of Satyajit Ray will also be celebrated at the International Kolkata Book Fair 2022,” Mr. Chatterjee said.

“Many eminent personalities passed on in the recent past, including Soumitra Chatterjee, Pranab Mukherjee, Sankha Ghosh, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Buddhadeb Guha and Subrata Mukherjee. We will also pay homage to them.”

The Kolkata Book Fair is considered the largest attended book fair in the world, where disparate political ideologies, from right-wing organisations to numerous Leftist outfits, get an opportunity to sell their literature. In 2020, the fair recorded a footfall of 2.2 million and saw a direct sale, from business to customer, of ₹24 crore. Since 2014, it has also been hosting a three-day Kolkata Literature Festival, which will be held in 2022 as well.

COVID norms

The organisers plan to enforce COVID-appropriate behaviour at the venue: visitors should be double-vaccinated, wear masks and follow social distancing. “The stalls would be kept as airy as possible. The sizes of the stalls might also be reduced. Emphasis will be on proper sanitisation,” Mr. Chatterjee said.

Year 2021 was not the first time the event was called off. In 2008 too, after a last-minute court order following a PIL that the fair was causing harm to the environment, the event could not be held. At the time it was being held at the Park Circus Maidan. The fair then shifted to the Science City grounds, where it continued to be held for a few years before finding itself a permanent, and a more suitable venue in Salt Lake City.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 10:10:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kolkata-book-fair-to-return-in-jan-2022/article37466198.ece

Next Story