Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday inaugurated the month-long Amar Ekushey book fair, the annual event of book lovers and publishers, in the capital.
The premier opened the country's biggest book fair in the afternoon, joining its inaugural ceremony on the Bangla Academy premise.
The Bangla Academy is organising the book fair on the Academy premises and its adjoining Suhrawardy Udyan.
At the function, the Prime Minister unveiled covers of two books titled "Collected Works of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: Volume-2" and "Praner Melay (written by heikh Hasina)," published by Bangla Academy.
The book lovers can visit the fair from 3 pm to 9 pm on working days and from 11 am to 9 pm on holidays. However, all entry points will be closed after 8.30 pm. On February 21, International Mother Language Day, fairgoers can enter the show at 8 am.
At the opening ceremony, the prime minister distributed the Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar-2023 (Bangla Academy Literary Award 2023) among its recipients.
She handed over the award to the 16 recipients under 11 categories. Each awardee received a cheque for award money, a crest and a certificate.
Shamim Azad won the award for her achievements in poetry, while novelists Nuruddin Jahangir and Salma Bani jointly for best fiction writer, Zulfikar Matin for his contribution to essay/research, Saleha Chowdhury for translation work, and playwrights Mrittika Chakma and Masud Pathik for their outstanding work in drama.
Tapankar Chakrabarty received recognition in the children's literature category, ornithologist Inam Al Haque for his contributions to the environment/science field and Tapan Bagchi and Suman Kumar for their significant contributions to folklore.
Afroza Parvin and Asaduzzaman Asad were honoured with the award for their writings on the Liberation War, while Saifullah Mahmud Dulal and Md. Majibur Rahman for their work on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Ishak Khan for his work in the biography category.
Bangla Academy President novelist Selina Hossain chaired the inaugural ceremony of the book fair, while Cultural Affairs Secretary Khalil Ahmed, Bangla Academy Director General poet Nurul Huda and president of Bangladesh Book Publishers and Sellers Association Arif Hossain Choton spoke on the occasion.
A total of 937 stalls have been allocated to 635 organisations at the book fair. The authorities have allotted 173 stalls to 120 organizations on the Bangla Academy premises and 764 stalls to 515 organizations at the Suhrawardy Udyan.
The fair also has 37 pavilions (one on the Academy premises and 36 in the Suhrawardy Udyan section).
This year, the outer path of the fair has been relocated closer to the Kali Mandir gate due to the metro rail station's placement. There will also be eight entry and exit ways in the TSC, Doyel Chattar, MRT Basing Plant, and Engineering Institution areas.
The food stalls are located within the Engineers' Institution's boundaries and have been structured in a way so that they won't create any disturbance to the readers attending the book fair. The fairgoers will also have access to the prayer area, restrooms, and other facilities.
The traditional "Shishu Prohor" segment is taking place for the child fairgoers every Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 1 pm The dedicated "Shishu Chattar" remains in its previous place, adjacent to the temple area, like last year.
Seminars will be held on the main stage of the fair venue at 4:00 pm every day, followed by cultural events. The Little Magazine premises have been shifted near the open stage of Suhrawardy Udyan, which will cater to around 170 LittleMags stalls.
The fair venue was first extended to Suhrawardy Udyan in 2013 to accommodate more spaces for the fair, besides its fixed venue at the Bangla Academy.
There are strict security arrangements in and around the venue by the Bangladesh Police, RAB, BGB, and other security enforcement agencies to prevent any unpleasant incidents. The entire fair zone is closely monitored with more than 300 CCTV cameras.
The month-long book fair is arranged every year in February to commemorate the sacrifices of people who gave their lives on February 21, 1952, for establishing Bangla as the mother tongue.
The traditional Amar Ekushey Book Fair had started informally in 1972 on the Bangla Academy premises and then in 1978 the academy officially took the responsibility of arranging the fair every year.
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