The International Kolkata Book Fair started on February 28th, 2022. For the past two years, because of the Covid Pandemic, the organization of the fair was postponed. This year also, the fair was scheduled for January. However, as the number of Corona patients increased, it finally started in February.
The Kolkata book fair holds a special place in the hearts of Bengali. Many of us have come to the fair holding our parents’ hands. Even in this era of technology, with several apps with thousands of books, the Kolkata Book Fair is still a success, with thousands of people coming from all over the state.
The Origin of Kolkata Book Fair
The International Kolkata Book Fair is the largest non-trade book fair in the world. The inauguration of the fair was on 5th March 1976. The organizer of this Mela was the Publishers & Booksellers Guild in order to meet public demand for books. The fair was a success with remarkable popularity.
This success of the Kolkata Book Fair influenced other places to hold book fairs in smaller cities in West Bengal. The Kolkata book fair also got the nomination for the Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2006.
The Theme of the Kolkata Book Fair
Each year, there is a theme for the International Kolkata Book Fair. The theme country in 2020 was Russia, while in 2019, the focal theme was Guatemala.
Bangladesh is the theme country of the 2022 book fair. The country is celebrating its 50th independence anniversary this year. It is also the birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The celebration of Bangladesh day was on the 3rd and 4th of March.
The Venue of Kolkata Book Fair
Over the years, the location of the International Kolkata Book Fair has changed several times. The venue during the 1980s and early 1990s used to be in Maidan or near the Park Street area. However, the places changed as per the high court’s order.
Since 2009, the outlet for the mela has been in Milan Mela near Science City on E.M. Bypass. However, the Central Park Mela Complex, Karunamoyee, replaced this location from the 44th book fair.
Publishers and Books in the Fair
Book fair is the perfect place for novice writers to display their work to the public. Books of both new and old writers, selling on the same stall, giving them a chance to make their own history.
In this year’s International Kolkata Book Fair, there are more than 600 stalls with literature and cultures. You can find books of well-known Bengali writers, including Rabindranath Tagore, Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Satyajit Ray, and more.
Here are some of the popular publications: Ananda Publishers, Dey’s Publishing, Deb Sahitya Kutir, Mitra Ghosh Publishers, Sishu Sahitya Samsad, and more. You can also find the compositions of your favorite writers and poets.
Apart from Bengali books, there are several books you can find at the Book Fair. There is also a collection of books from different countries, including Russia, Bangladesh, America, England, and more. You can get the original versions as well as the translated versions.
Events in The Kolkata Book Fair
The Kolkata Book Fair has several events from the day of inauguration. With numerous people visiting, many writers release their books at the fair.
This year the book fair is hosting the Eighth Kolkata Literature Festival. There will be seminars and panel discussions amongst several renowned veterans in art and literature. Apart from that, the colleges and universities participating in the fair also arrange their own programs.
The 45th International Kolkata is going on at full steam. The organizers have taken all measures to obey the covid protocols. You can not enter the fair without masks. Several police officers are employed to control the crowd.
If you love books, you can also spend an afternoon taking a stroll and looking for your favorite writers.