The International Kolkata Book Fair is a winter fair in Kolkata. It is the world’s largest non-trade book fair with a total footfall of over 2 million people. It is Asia’s largest book fair and the most attended book fair in the world which is totally designed for the general public rather than whole-sale distributors. After the Frankfurt Book Fair and the London Book Fair, it is the world’s third largest annual conglomeration of books. The event has become an inherent part of Kolkata.

Kolkata Book Fair this year is celebrating its 40th year with Bolivia, as its theme country. The event was inaugurated by the Honorable Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banarjee in the presence of the Guest of Honour from the theme country. It is a 12 day event being held from 27th January to the 7th February 2016 at the Milan Mela Ground in Kolkata, India. This event offers a platform to manufacturers, distributors, authors, publishers and so on to showcases their products. Book-loving people can exhibit their particular interest in the book fair and may take advantage of it. Some famous publishers who take part in this fair through their own stall are Ananda Publishers, Malayalam Manorma, Oxford University Press, Future Publishers and Distributers, Vikalp, Youth Times, Voice of World, Disha Sahitya, Gita Press etc.

‘Plurinational State of Bolivia’ is the official name of Bolivia. The country was named after the great leader Simon Bolivar. Geographical diversity and multi-ethnic demography has gifted the country immense cultural values.

Bolivian culture has been heavily influenced by the Quechua, the Aymara, as well as the popular cultures of Latin America as a whole. Important archaeological ruins such as ornaments, stone monuments, ceramic crafts and weavings remain from several important pre-Columbian cultures have been found in Bolivia. The “Mestizo Baroque” introduced by the Spanish, is a religious art, which developed into a rich and distinctive style of architecture, painting, and sculpture of the Country.

Bolivia is also famous for its folklore. The “devil dances” at the annual carnival of Oruro are one of the great folkloric events of South America, which is proclaimed by UNESCO as among the first 19 “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in May 2001.

Starting from the 1990s, the book fair has been themed annually. The theme country embassy is given a stall at the centre, and many book shops theme their collections based on the fair theme. The temporary gates of the fair are also designed according to the theme. The Chief Guest at the fair is from the themed country.

Here is a list of states and countries who got the opportunity to be selected as the theme of the world famous conglomeration at The International Kolkata Book Fair :

YearTheme YearTheme
1995West Bengal2008USA
1998Great Britain2011USA
2002Netherlands2015Great Britain

West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee also takes an active part in this fair and is associated with the stall of Jago Bangla, a [Trinamool] Congress party organ, for more than a decade. This year the Chief Minister has broken her own record by penning and releasing 10 books in one fair.

~ The International Kolkata Book Fair 2016 ~
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Maitree Shee
Hatpakha Reporter
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