History of International Kolkata Book Fair
The grand success of Kolkata Book Fair has motivated the organisation of numerable other book fairs in Siliguri, other small cities of the state of West Bengal, and finally the very first World's Book Fair, New Delhi in the year 1972. Kolkata Book Fair has been praised in various outlets of Bengali culture, which includes songs, literature, and theatre in Kolkata. The oldest Kolkata Book Fair dates back to 1972, organised by the Kolkata Publishers' and Booksellers' Guild, aimed to quench the thirst of numerable book-readers of the city as there was lack of adequate bookshops. Generally, the fair continues for 12 days, and also coincides with Saraswati Puja, the Hindu Goddess of Learning. Initially, Kolkata Book Fair used to be held at the Maidan grounds, during the 1980's and 1990's, one of which was organised by the Calcutta Publishers' and Booksellers' Guild and the other arranged by the Government of West Bengal, known as 'Gronth Mela'. In 1992, the two fairs were merged together. The fair is held at Milan Mela, close to Science City, on the E.M. Bypass, since the year 2009.
Objective of International Kolkata Book Fair
Kolkata Book Fair is a great initiative to encourage book lovers and wholesale book distributors and is famous for being the largest non-trade book fair in the entire world. International Kolkata Book Fairis Asia's largest book fair possessing the largest collection of books, immediately after the London Book Fair and the Frankfurt Book Fair. This major book event is immensely popular in the city of joy and is considered to be an integral part of the city since several generations. Boasting of a generous footfall of nearly above 2 million people, the book fair presents a riot of colours of merriment in the form of vast crowds, singer-songwriters, candy-floss vendors and several others.
Books Exhibited at International Kolkata Book Fair
Bengali and English books are amongst the vast number of books which are displayed and sold in International Kolkata Book Fair. Books by Ananda Publishers, Mitra Ghosh Publishers, Penguin India, Dey's Publishing, Sishu Sahitya Kutir and numerous other novels and booksare exhibited in this fair. Organisations in Kolkata which are equipped with their own publishing houses like Botanical Survey of India, Zoological Survey of India, Indian Museum, Rabindra Bharati University, University of Calcutta, Jadavpur University and Asiatic Society sell their books at this massive event.
Themes of International Kolkata Book Fair
Every year, International Kolkata Book Fairis organised with a central, basic theme, usually on a certain nation, and the country embassy of the theme country is offered a stall at the fairground. Several other book shops boast of the collections unique to that particular theme country. Bangladesh was the theme country of Kolkata Book Fair, 2013 while the theme country for Kolkata Book Fair 2014 was Peru. In 2016, the theme of Kolkata Book Fair is Bolivia.
Events at International Kolkata Book Fair
Various types of events are organised in the International Kolkata Book Fairwhich involve conferences and seminars attended by notable authors, poets and other literary personalities, competitive contests and competitions meant for children and adults, child literacy programs, some book releases, theme country events and much more.
A large group of the intellectuals, authors, editors, journalists and book lovers, including Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Samaresh Majumder, Tillotama Majumder , Buddhadeb Guha, Mrinal Sen, Mayor of Kolkata attended the Kolkata Book Fair 2008. All first editions of books, which are released in the Kolkata Book Fair, are showcased in a special release gallery. The Kolkata Book Fair has been the annual show for Bengali Little Magazines since the beginning of the fair. Since 1990s, the Kolkata Book Fair has also initiated a special section for budding artists, authors, poets and painters, called the Montmartre. The food stalls in the Kolkata Book Fair share a common enclave.