The 44th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair that is set to begin on January 7 here, will be themed 'Manushi', focusing on "writings on and by women".
The 9-day-long fair, organised by National Book Trust (NBT) in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), will aim to show and project the diversity of writings by women writers.
The fair will be inaugurated by Mahendra Nath Pandey, MoS for Human Resource Development (Higher Education), on January 7 at Pragati Maidan here.
Eminent Odia writer and Jnanpith awardee Pratibha Ray will be Guest of Honour and Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to India will be the Special Guest on the ocassion.
"There has been the tradition of women writers as well as scholars since ancient times in India. Many of them have set examples of morality through their literary works and have played a vital role in promoting modern thoughts. Therefore, we wanted to provide a special space to them at the fair.
"Since writings 'on women' are as much a part of this exhibition as those 'by women', hence the theme presentation does not intend to project writings 'by women' as a special genre in themselves," Baldeo Sharma, Chairman, National Book Trust(NBT) said.
While books on different genres will form the main ingredients of this exhibition, posters and panels of some of the eminent representative women scholars of ancient and medieval India, and women pioneers of modern Indian literature, will be on display.
The fair will also celebrate 60 years of National Book Trust (NBT) at the Special Pavillion, that will feature an exhibit titled, "This is No Looking Back!".
"It will be exciting for youngsters to see the exhibit that will showcase NBT's journey of promoting the culture of reading in last six decades," Sharma said.
'Archival Photos/ Materials' will offer a glimpse of noted personalities including Presidents and Prime Ministers of India, writers, readers, publishers, and artists who have patronised NBT's mandate of creating a culture of reading.
There will also be a display of NBT's bestsellers, besides an 'Illustrator's Wall' showcasing works of eminent Indian Illustrators like Mickey Patel, Pulak Biswas, Mario, Miranda, Ravi Paranjpe, Jagdish Joshi among others.
Sharma also requested India Trade Promotion Organisation
(ITPO) to make entry to book fair free of cost from next year, in order to promote and inculcate an interest for reading among visitors.
"I don't think there is a lack of interest in reading but the problem lies in the system in which books are made available.
"There should be availability of books at cheaper rates so that more people read books. We have also requested ITPO to make the World Book Fair ticket-free from the next year," Sharma said.
The Children's Pavilion will host seminars, panel discussions, storytelling sessions, workshops on creative writing and illustrations among others.
Renowned writers like Ramendra Kumar, Hemant Kumar, Azhar Hajini will also be interacting with children.
Although the fair this year will not have a guest country at the Foreign Pavillion, but the international segment will see participation by over 20 countries including, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Nepal, Iran, Poland, Japan, Spain, Sri Lanka among others.
While previous editions saw significant participation from Pakistan, this edition will have only one distributor from the country.
Talking about the scanty participation from the neighbouring country, Sharma said, "There hasn't been any response from them to participate in the fair this time. There will be only one distributor from Pakistan."
International agencies like World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will also participate in the fair.
Events from the Foreign Pavillion will include photography exhibitions on the Indian Disapora in the EU, the Chinese New Year, and screening of films based on William Shakespeare's plays, commemorating the 400th death anniversary of the Bard.
The fair will also provide a platform for B2B activities for publishers from India and abroad, and will focus on the idea and business of creating culture of reading.
However, according to Sharma, the fair this year will see reduced participation by publishers, owing to unavailability of sufficient space.
"Due to less availability of space provided to us by ITPO, we have not been able to include as many publishers as there were last year," he said.
The fair will come to a close on January 15.