PM opens Ekushey Book Fair 2023 in person for first time in 3 years
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday inaugurated the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2023, the annual event of booklovers and publishers, in the capital.
The premier opened the country's biggest book fair in the afternoon, joining its inaugural ceremony in person on the Bangla Academy premise after a gap of three years induced by Covid-19 pandemic.
The fair is being held on the Academy premises and its adjoining Suhrawardy Udyan with the theme "Poro Boi, Goro Desh-Bangabandhu'r Bangladesh" (Read Books, Build the Country as Bangladesh dreamt by Bangabandhu).
The book fair will remain open for the visitors from 3pm to 9pm on working days and 11:00am to 9pm on the holidays. However, the visitors can enter the fair on International Mother Language Day at 8am, and all entrance points will be closed after 8.30pm every day.
A total of 901 stalls have been allocated to 601 organisations for this year's book fair, compared to 776 stalls to 534 organisations last year.
Of these, 165 stalls have been allocated to 112 organisations on the Bangla Academy premises, the rest 736 stalls to 489 organisations at Suhrawardy Udyan. Moreover, a total of 38 pavilions have been allocated this year.
All the 489 stalls inside Suhrawardi Udyan have been set up in a way so that a visitor can see the whole fairground from any corner.
The temple gate of the Suhrawardi Udyan is the main entrance, which is located opposite the Bangla Academy. Also, there are three more entrances and exits nearby the Teacher-Student Center (TSC), Doyel Chattar and the Institution of Engineers Bangladesh (IEB).
The entire fair zone will be closely monitored by more than 300 CCTV cameras.
At the opening ceremony, the prime minister distributed the Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar-2022 (Bangla Academy Literary Award 2022) among its recipients.
She handed over the award to the 15 recipients under 11 categories. Each awardee received a cheque for award money, a crest and a certificate.
Faruk Mahmud and Tarik Sujat received the award for poetry, while Taposh Mojumdar and Parvez Hossain for novels, Masuduzzaman for essays/research and Alam Khorshed for translation.
The other awardees are Milan Kanti Dey and Farid Ahmad Dulal for drama, Druba Esh for juvenile literature, Muhammad Shamsul Haque for research on the Liberation War, Subhash Singha Roy for research on Bangabandhu, Mokarram Hossain for science/science fiction/environmental science, Iktiar Chowdhury for biography and travelogue and Professor Abdul Khaleq and Professor Mohammad Abdul Jalil for folklore.
The Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar is given in recognition of creativity and talents in advancement and overall contributions to the field of Bengali language and literature.
The book fair is arranged every year in February commemorating the sacrifices of language heroes who laid down their lives on February 21, 1952, for establishing Bangla as an official language of the then-Pakistan along with Urdu. Bangladesh was the eastern wing Pakistan until its liberation in 1971.
But the traditional dates of the fair got shifted for the past two editions due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The traditional Amar Ekushey Book Fair had started informally in 1972 on the Bangla Academy premises and then in 1978 the academy officially took the responsibility of arranging the fair every year.
Bangabandhu's youngest daughter Sheikh Rehana was present in the inaugural ceremony presided over by Bangla Academy President novelist Selina Hossain.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, Cultural Affairs Secretary Md Abul Monsur, Bangla Academy Director General poet Nurul Huda and president of Bangladesh Book Publishers and Sellers Association Arif Hossain Choton spoke on the occasion.