The month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair will begin on the Bangla Academy premises and at adjoining Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital on Thursday.Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the book fair on the Bangla Academy premises at 3pm on the day.
Poet Agnes Meadows (UK), Cameroonian poet Dr Joyce Ashuntantang, Ibrahim El Masry (Egypt) and Orne Johnson (Sweden) will be present at the inaugural ceremony as distinguished foreign guests.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor will attend the opening ceremony as a special guest while the Bangla Academy Director General Shamsuzzaman will deliver the welcome speech with its President Emeritus Professor Anisuzzaman in the chair.
At a press conference at the Bangla Academy on Tuesday, its DG said the fair would be more beautiful and aesthetically rich this time than the previous years.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will distribute the Bangla Academy Shahitya Puraskar while Bangla Academy will present two books titled ‘Alokchitre Bangla Academir Ithihash’ and Banghabandhur Sath e Marcher Bhashon: Bohumtrik Bishleshon’ to the prime minister at the opening ceremony.
Twelve personalities have been chosen for the Bangla Academy award for 2017.
The recipients are – Mohammad Sadik and Maruful Islam (poetry), Mamun Hossain (fiction), Prof Mahbubul Haque (essay), Prof Rafiqullah Khan (research), Aminur Rahman Bhuiyan (translation), Kamrul Hasan Bhuiyan and Surma Jahid (literature on Liberation War), Shakur Majid (biography and travelogue), Maloy Bhoumik (drama), Moshtak Ahmed (science, technology and environment) and Jhrana Dash Purokhayshto (juvenile literature).
The winners will receive a cheque of Tk 1 each lakh this year while the recipients will get Tk 2 lakh with the next award.
There will be a seminar at the main stage of the fair at 4pm every day from February 2 to 28 followed by cultural events.
Like the previous years, the venue of the fair has been extended to nearby Suhrawardy Udyan with some changes.
Meanwhile, the cultural affairs minister visited the fair venue on Wednesday.
The authorities have allotted a total of 719 units – 136 at the Bangla Academy ground to 92 organisatons and 583 at the Suhrawardy Udyan to 363 organisations.
Last year, the authorities allotted a total of 663 units – 114 at the Bangla Academy ground to 80 organisatons and 549 at Suhrawardy Udyan to 329 organisations.
Besides, 24 pavilions (15,536 square feet) have been allocated for 24 publishing houses, including Bangla Academy, while last year, 15 pavilions were allocated for 14 publishing houses, including Bangla Academy.
There will be strict security arrangements in and around the book fair venue to avert any unpleasant incident during the fair.
Publishers from across the country will exhibit huge books on different issues while Bangla Academy will exhibit 141 newly printed and reprinted books.
Bangla Academy will organise a two-day International Literature Conference on February 22-23 to build a good bonding among the local and foreign writers, poets, novelists as well as to create a platform to exchange their literary works.
At least 15 foreign poets from eight different countries will be present at the conference.
A newly launched website and application will provide the information about the fair.
Awards will be handed over to the publishing houses on the closing day of the month-long ‘Ekushey Boi Mela’. The ‘Chittaranjan Saha Smriti Puraskar’ for the publication of a good number of quality books in the fair while ‘Munier Chowdhury Smriti Puraskar’ will be given for the aesthetic design.
The ‘Rokonuzzaman Khan Dadabhai Smriti Puraskar’ will be awarded for publishing excellent books for kids while Qayyum Chowdhury Smriti Puraskar will be given for the best interior design of the stalls.
The fairs will remain open every day from 3pm to 8:30pm, except for holidays. It will remain open on holidays from 11am to 8pm and the fair will run from 8am to 9pm on the International Mother Language Day – February 21.