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46th International Kolkata Book Fair Kickstarts With Participation From 20 Countries

This year, over a lakh people thronged the book fair on the opening day itself.

Kolkata: The iconic Kolkata Book Fair was opened to the public from January 31 after its inauguration by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee the day before.

The International Kolkata Book Fair is the world's largest book fair by footfall, and over 25 lakhs footfalls have been recorded in the book fair in the past. Last year, despite the pandemic, the book fair noted a footfall of 20 lakhs. This year, over a lakh people have thronged the book fair on the opening day itself .

Over 1 lakh titles of books ranging from theology to Marxism, literature, oceanography, and solid state physics are on sale in this book fair, which the discerned book lovers patronise every year. A literary fest will also happen at the Kolkata Book Fair. 

Talking to NewsClick, Tridib Kumar Chatterjee, Honorary General Secretary of the Booksellers and Publishers Guild, the organiser of the fair, said that this year the guild has allotted stalls to many more new small and medium publishers at the book fair. “The number of stalls has increased to almost 900. There are small, medium and large stalls. This is inclusive of Bangladesh and other foreign participants. There will be two halls with English books. All multinational and national publishers like Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, Hachette, Bloomsbury, and Pan Macmillan will participate. The tagline is ‘Boi Porun, Boi Kinun, Boi Upohaar Din’ (Read Books, Buy Books, Gift Books),” Chatterjee said.

Booksfair bengal

There are nine entry and exit gates in the IBKF 23 for easy movement of visitors. One of the gates is a replica of the famous Toledo Gate of Spain. Among other gates, there will be the Biswabangla Gate, based on the brand promoted by the Mamata Banerjee-led state government.

The two main halls (pavilions) of the book fair, having mainly English publications, have been named after poets Michael Madhusudan Dutta and Pyaricharan Sarkar to commemorate the bicentenary of their births. The Little Magazine stalls will be named after author and editor Ramapada Choudhury to observe his birth centenary.

There will also be a WiFi-enabled HDFC ERGO press corner and two open stages named after departed filmmakers Mrinal Sen and Tarun Majumdar. The children’s pavilion will be based on the characters of ‘Abol Tabol’ (a legendary limerick book written by Sukumar Roy, father of filmmaker Satyajit Roy), to celebrate 100 years of its publication.

Spain is the theme country of this year's book fair. The Director of Instituto Cervantes, Maria Jose Galvez Salvador, attended the inauguration function on Monday. Spain was also the theme country of the book fair in 2006 during the previous Left Front government's time .

This year, Thailand is participating for the first time in the event. Moreover, a total of 20 countries are participating in the Kolkata Book Fair 2023. Bangladesh will be having the maximum number of stalls at 20. The total number of stalls this year will be 950. The closing day of the book fair is February 12. 

On Wednesday, the DYFI's Book Stall in the fair was also inaugurated by mass singer DR Soumik Das in the presence of DYFI leaders Meenakshi Mukherjee, Dhrubojyoti das, Saptarshi Deb and Kalatan Dasgupta. In the stall after inauguration we also met with firebrand . It can be recalled that Fullora Mondal was released on bail last year. 

The bookstall of Students Federation of India (SFI) was inaugurated by Fullora Mondal, AIDWA leader of West Medinipur District. Now out on bail, she spent more than 10 years in Jail under the present state government even though she was one of the anti-maoist icons in the West Medinipur district at the time of her arrest. 

Both the SFI and DYFI Stalls contain a rich catalogue of books on students and youth movements, with titles primarily in Bengali. The stalls also have various other things like Che Guevera t-shirts, caps and pen stands etc. New books including the biography of Marx and Engels and on the newest form of capitalism have been published by the National Book Agency, the publishing house of CPI(M) West Bengal State Committee and has been kept at their stall. Party daily Ganashakti has also set up their stall in the book fair premises with an array of books on contemporary issues

Left Word books has also set up its stall in the Pavilion of the book fair. On the first day itself, there have been queries from the readers regarding the Left Word's publications on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the latest book edited by Vijay Prasad on legendary Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Min, said Purbasha of Left Word stall .The stall also possesses an interesting catalogue of books on social sciences, Marxism and contemporary history.

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