Month-long Ekushey Book Fair begins | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

Month-long Ekushey Book Fair begins


Dhaka – The month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair began in the capital on Monday amid foolproof security.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the fair on the Bangla Academy premises on Monday.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, she said every year people from every corner of the country and expatriate Bangladeshis stream into the fair as it has gradually turned into a grand reunion of Bengalees.She relived her memories of the book fair during her student days at Dhaka University.
Hasina regretted not being able to visit the fair and meander around the premises regularly like her student days as she has to be under tight security.
“I’m waiting for the days when I can be free and roam around,” she said.
The prime minister said the book fair provides a scope for cultural exchange between local and foreign writers.
Seminars and cultural functions during the whole month of February create a new buzz, she said.
Hasina stressed on publishing more translations of Bangladeshi works and urged writers and publishers to take Bengalee classics and latest literary works to readers around the world.
She handed the Bangla Academy Literary Award to 11 personalities at the inaugural ceremony. The recipients are Altaf Hossain (poetry), Shaheen Akhtar (fiction), Abul Momen and Dr Atiur Rahman (essay), Moniruzzaman (research), Abdus Selim (translation), Tajul Mohammad (literature on Liberation War), Faruk Chowdhury (biography and travelogue), Masum Reza (drama), Sharif Khan (science, technology and environment) and Sujan Barua (juvenile literature).
The prime minister referred to several expatriate Bangladeshis including Rafiqul Islam and Abdus Salam who helped her government in 1999 to have UNESCO recognise Feb 21 as the International Mother Language Day.
Bangla Academy Chairman and Professor Emeritus at Dhaka University Dr Anisuzzaman presided over the inaugural session, while Bangla Academy Director General Prof Shamsuzzaman Khan delivered the welcome speech.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA) Richard Charkin, Publisher of Onno Prokash Mazharul Islam, British poet and poet Jibanananda Das’ translator Joe Winter, Czech writer-researcher Ribek Martin and Cultural Affairs Secretary Aktari Mamtaz also spoke on the occasion.
The theme of this year’s book fair is ‘Diamond Jubilee of Bangla Academy’ marking its 60 years. The fair will open at 3:00pm and continue till 8:00pm on working days, while from 11:00am to 8:00pm on holidays. The fair time was 2:30pm to 8:30pm last year.
There will be a seminar at the main stage of the fair at 4:00pm every day from February 2 to 29.
Like the previous year, the venue of the fair was extended to nearby Suhrawardy Udyan. The authorities have allotted a total of 651 units – 111 at the Bangla Academy ground to 82 organisatons and 540 to 320 organisations at Suhrawardy Udyan. Besides, 15 pavilions have been allocated for 14 publishing houses, including Bangla Academy.
A four-tier security has been in place for the fair and there is enough lighting in and around the venue as the spot where blogger Avijit Roy was killed last year had the shadows of darkness
A total of 200 CC cameras and nine watchtowers were set up at the fair venue from where security personnel will observe the fair activities with binoculars. – Agencies


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