The dates for the International Kolkata Book Fair 2024 are here and it sends a wave of excitement among bibliophiles in Calcutta and across Bengal who turn up in great numbers from the remotest parts, to be a part of this great festival. To be held in January, the festival is being pre-poned keeping in mind school students. Tridib Kumar Chatterjee, president, Publishers & Booksellers Guild, announcing the dates — January 18 to 31 — said, “The International Kolkata Book Fair 2024 had to be brought forward by a few days because the central and state board exams are commencing from the end of January and first week of February. We believe that this change in the dates of the fair has come as good news for book lovers, since they can avail the additional holidays of 23 and 26 January apart from the two Saturdays and Sundays, to enjoy the fair.”
The announcement was followed by a catchy music video that encapsulated the grandeur of the Book Fair, warming up the newly-appointed British Deputy High Commissioner to East and North East India, Dr Andrew Fleming. He said, “I can see what Book Fair means to Calcutta. I am delighted to be in Calcutta and this is a fantastic opportunity to further deepen the understanding and appreciation for each other’s culture. With many UK speakers and cultural presentations as well on the agenda, we hope to reinforce the bond.”
Present during the announcement at The Park on November 28 were Debanjan Chakrabarti, director of British Council, East and North East India; Sudhangshu Sekhar Dey, general secretary, Publishers & Booksellers Guild; and Raju Barman, joint secretary, Publishers & Booksellers Guild, among others. “The first reason is we wanted to spotlight the British Council’s and UK’s work in education, arts and culture, and English language by bringing the best from the UK to this big platform. Second, very interestingly, this also coincides with the celebration of 75 years of the British Council in India. And lastly, celebrate our partnership with the Publishers & Booksellers Guild,” said Debanjan Chakrabarti, listing the three reasons why the British Council was delighted to be a part of the International Kolkata Book Fair this year.
Joining the league of countries — the US, France, Italy, Spain, Thailand, Australia, Bangladesh, Peru, Argentina and Colombia — who will have a present in the Boi Mela Prangan in Salt Lake, will be Germany. They will be participating after a gap of 12 years. Around 26 lakh book lovers came to the 2023 Book Fair, and the book sales amounted to Rs 25 crores.
One of the highlights of the International Kolkata Book Fair, the three-day Kolkata Literature Festival, KLF, will be held from 26 to 28 January. It will see a host of authors and poets participate in sessions that promise to enrich minds and start new dialogues.