Ekushey book fair here again
It is booklovers' time again as the much awaited "Amar Ekushey Granthamela", the biggest get-together of readers, writers and publishers, is set to begin tomorrow.
Bangla Academy and 409 publishing houses are taking their preparation to greet thousands of bookworms of different ages on the Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan premises.
A four-day "International Literary Conference" will also be held as part of the fair themed "Literature for Harmony". Writers from Austria, Germany, Puerto Rico, Malaysia, Russia, China, and India will take part in it.
Addressing a press briefing, Bangla Academy Director General Shamsuzzaman Khan yesterday said the fair would be held on a vast area of five lakh square feet.
He also assured that foolproof security measures were taken.
Highlighting different aspects, Jalal Ahmed, member secretary of the fair conducting committee, said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would inaugurate the fair at 3:00pm tomorrow.
She will hand over the prestigious Bangla Academy Literary Award 2015, announced on January 23, to the winners later.
"Ocean of Sorrow", an English translation of “Bishad Sindhu”, a timeless literary work of Mir Mosharraf Hossain and “Hundreds of Poems from Bangladesh” published in Germany will be handed over to the prime minister during the inaugural ceremony.
Of the participants, 80 publishers with 114 units would have their stalls on the academy premises while the remaining 329 with 549 units on Suhrawardy Udyan.
Ornamental plants have been set up at several points of Suhrawardy Udyan for beautification and colourful lights will illuminate the evening, said Khan.
There will be two main entrances -- TSC and Doyel Chattar -- to the fair area, while there will be three entrances to the academy premises and eight to the Udyan.
National Professor Mustafa Nurul Islam, researcher Ahmad Rafik, Dhaka University's Prof Burhanuddin Khan Jahangir, Professor Emeritus Rafiqul Islam, Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury, and Prof Emeritus Anisuzzaman will be honoured with "International Literary Conference Writer's Award" on February 2.
Considering security a major issue, Bangla Academy has taken measures to prevent any untoward incident during the month-long fair, said Khan.
As many as 250 CCTV cameras and several watchtowers would be set up for monitoring of the area. Several public toilets were set up and measures were taken to keep the place mosquito free and clean, he said.
Two LED monitors will set up at the entrances of TSC and Doyel Chattar to facilitate visitors, while they can also use Google map to find any pavilion, said Jalal.
Film star Ilias Kanchan, chairman of "Nirapad Media & Communications Ltd", event management firm of this year's book fair, said, “We have set up a fountain on the fair premises to cheer up the visitors.”
While answering to journalists on banning publishers, Prof Khan said, “A stall can be banned for a book which hurts religious sentiments of so many people. Agitated people may set fire to the academy.”
He also said they would remain careful so that none could publish any book hurting religious sentiment.
Seminars on arts, culture, literature, politics and current issues will be held every day from February 5 to 28. Like the previous years, children's painting, extempore speech and general knowledge competitions and cultural programmes will also be held.
Bangla Academy will launch 101 new books. The number was 108 last year.
"Chittaranjan Saha Smrity Puroskar" will be awarded to the best publisher of last year and "Munier Chowdhury Smrity Puroskar" to three publishers for publishing best books in the fair last year.
"Rokonuzzaman Khan Dadabhai Smriti Purashkar" and "Qayyum Chowdhury Smriti Purashkar" will be given for the best children's book and best stall decoration this year respectively.
Syed Waliullah Literature Award 2016 will be given on the last day of the fair.
The fair will remain open for 30 more minutes daily than the previous years. It will remain open for all from 3:00pm to 8:30pm on workdays, 11:00am to 8:30pm on holidays, and 8:00am to 8:30pm on February 21.