The UK will be the theme country of the 39th Calcutta Book Fair beginning January 28. After 1998, this will be the second time the UK will be the theme country of the annual event.
“India is the third largest market in English writing after the UK and the US and increasingly, Indian writings in English are becoming popular.... It gives great pleasure to be a part of the fair,” Rob Lynes, the director of British Council, India, said on Monday.
He said in England, a growing number of readers were switching to technology for reading. “Libraries are trying to remerge. India is still witnessing a growth in printed books and that is fascinating.”
The media conference was on Book Fair but the India-England Test at Lord’s was on everyone’s mind.
“Those of you following cricket would like to know the latest score. Well England is trailing but there is still some time left. We would be watching every moment keenly,” Lynes said, before India won a Test at Lord’s after 28 years.
Scott Furssedonn-Wood, the British deputy high commissioner in Calcutta, was present at the announcement.
Sources in the Publishers and Book Sellers Guild, which organises the fair, said England was chosen as the theme country following a series a meetings with senior officials from the British Council, Calcutta.
The British Council, sources said, was looking for bigger space to set up a stall in the fair to promote the “GREAT Britain” campaign when the Guild approached it.
“A country that becomes the theme country gets an entire pavilion, which measures around 5,000sq ft. The biggest stalls, on the other hand, are spread across 1,600sq ft,” said Tridib Chattopadhayay, the general secretary of the Guild.