KOCHI: Children hop around a pavilion, peering at the stacks of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ as their parents scour the shelves for Thakazhi and O N V. The stalls set up at Ernakulathappan Ground as part of the 21st Kochi International Book Festival are attracting readers of all ages.“We rarely go out to buy books; such festivals are a great platform to find a variety of books at reasonable rates,” said a college-going student as she picked up a copy of ‘Origin’, Dan Brown’s latest thriller.
Publishers said fiction remains the most popular genre among visitors at the festival, which began on Friday.“There is demand for popular fiction, books of Chetan Bhagat and Jeff Kinney,” said Vinod from Green Books.In the international section, Jean Saxon’s ‘Princess: More Tears to Cry’ and Svetlana Alexievich’s ‘Secondhand Time’ are big draws. Many Malayalam readers look for spiritual books and translations of world-renowned works.
“Students come for academic reference books, history and literature,” said V K K Ramesh from the Kerala Sahitya Akademi.The book festival is being organised by the International Book Festival Committee and Sahithyakarasangamam, a gathering of contemporary literary figures, set up as part of the event that was inaugurated by Malayalam writer K. B Sreedevi on Monday. In her address, she stressed upon the significance of literature in the transformation of both mind and soul.
The book festival is playing host to around 300 publishers and has about 220 stalls. The pavilions feature various publishing houses such as Penguin, H&C, NBT, Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi and the State Institute of Language Studies. “The festival is bigger this year, with more number of publishers and pavilions,” said E N Nandakumar, president of the Book Festival Committee.As part of the book festival, ‘Kochi Literature Festival 2017’ will be conducted from December 6. The book festival, which was inaugurated by Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde, will continue till December 10.