CHENNAI: The city’s biggest book fair, with about 700 stalls, begins on Wednesday and publishers of books in South Indian languages are set to make a comeback with it after nearly a decade. Organised at Island Grounds by Book Publishers and Sellers Association of India (BAPASI), this is the 39th book fair in the city, and has almost become a part of the city’s cultural fabric.
“Besides books in Tamil and English, publications in Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada will also be available this year. Telugu and Malayalam books are set to make a comeback at the fair after 10 years,” said Gandhi Kannadasan, president, BAPASI.
The organisers are planning themes for each day of the fair. “We will have a Student’s Day, a Women’s Day, Chennai Day, Traditional Arts Day, and so on at the fair. Writers will also be present at the event,” he said, adding that over 600 contractors and engineers have been working for over a month to set up the stalls.
The guest of honour status had been given to Singapore, and a stall with literature from Singapore would be set up at a pavilion, he said. Writers from Singapore will also be available to interact with the public. A pavilion for Abdul Kalam would also be set up to pay tribute to the former President.
Vice-president of BAPASI, B Sankarnarayanan, said that for the first time, a Braille system would be in place for the visually impaired. Besides, actors from Tamil film industry will also visit the stalls and sign new writers’ books. “We were also trying to introduce a stall for spoken English as it would help corporation school students become fluent in the language. If we don’t do it this year, we’ll give it a shot again next year,” he said.
Publisher P Mayilvelan said his primary focus this year was education. “I have books for competitive exams as well as motivational and health-related ones. We also have books for Class 12 students, as they are clueless about what career to choose once they complete schooling. We will also have an exclusive 940-page book on grammar which will consist of 120 titles,” he said.