Pegged to be a ‘festival of ideas’, the 39th edition of the International Kolkata Book Fair that begins here Jan 28 will focus on literary works from Britain and will be graced by the presence of a Noble laureate whose name has not yet been revealed.
To highlight Britain’s contribution to literature, a special segment will be incorporated celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th birth anniversary and Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’s 100th birth anniversary.
“Britain is the focal theme country in the 39th edition and therefore, it will turn into a convergence of English literature from across the globe,” said Tridib Chatterjee, honorary general secretary of the Publishers and Booksellers Guild.
Supported by the British Council, the event running till Feb 8 at the Milan Mela grounds, will also include a three-day literary meet, the Kolkata Literary Festival (KLF) from Feb 6 to 8.
“The fair will revolve around the theme ‘knowledge is great’ and we are looking at it as a festival of ideas in terms of education and what Britain has to offer to youngsters in West Bengal,” said Sujata Sen, East India director at the British Council.
One of the key features will be the collaboration of two Welsh authors and two Indian authors during the fair to produce new writings based on their experiences in the city.
“Since this year happens to be the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth, two Welsh authors will be participating.
“In addition, experts will participate in an event on Shakespeare where the discussion will be how Shakespeare’s works have been interpreted from time to time,” Sen said.
A special storytelling session for children and sessions on museums will be the other highlights.
The organisers promise the book fair will be more modern and tech-friendly with an Android app to help book-lovers navigate their way through as many as 750 book stalls and locate their chosen one, Chatterjee said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be present at the opening ceremony Jan 27 as its chief guest while a Noble laureate from Britain will inaugurate the event.
The names of the Noble laureate and other participants will be revealed at a later date, Chatterjee said.