CHENNAI: The annual Chennai Book Fair has been a meeting point for Sri Lankan Tamils yearning for a literary space for a long time. And this year, for the first time, a Sri Lankan publication has set up a stall at the fair being held at the YMCA grounds. In the name of Puthu Ulagam (the new world), Sri Lanka’s Ghazal Publication has set up a book stall (No 206 and 207) at the fair.
ARM Sabry, ASM Nazeem and AMM Matheen Publishers of Batticaloa in Sri Lanka told TNIE that they approached the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI) to set up a stall with a view to encouraging Sri Lankan writers to showcase their work here, which in turn could also help them economically.
“The books written by writers who migrated from Sri Lanka are available in Tamil Nadu and other countries. However, books written by people in Sri Lanka are not sold in other countries and I want to release these books in many countries,” Sabry said.
He also said he has visited the Chennai Book Fair three times and has a few friends at Puthu Ulagam publications, a BAPASI member. He bought over 350 titles, including Sinhala Drama, Sinhala Culture, Government and Society after a War, Current Social Crisis in Sri Lanka: Multi-dimensional Perspective, and Community System in Yalpanam. The sales have been good so far and I hope many more visitors visit the stall, he said.
“We request BAPASI to allot space for Sri Lankan publishers and writers every year. We also applied for space for an international book fair to be held in the same venue between January 16-18 and are awaiting the reply,” he said.
BAPASI general secretary SK Murugan told TNIE that following the Sri Lankan publisher’s request, they allotted this stall in the name of Puthu Ulagam. After discussing with members, a permanent stall would be allotted to them.