New Delhi World Book Fair 2023: poised to be the biggest celebration of books

Yuvraj Malik, Director, NBT-India, gives an insight into the upcoming New Delhi World Book Fair 2023 in conversation with All About Book Publishing.

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AABP: What will be the new initiatives at New Delhi World Book Fair 2023?

Yuvraj: This edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) will be the biggest celebration of books as National Book Trust, India is celebrating its journey of 50 years with the first World Book Fair held in 1972. In addition, a dedicated NEP 2020 Pavilion designed by the National Institute of Design will be put up across 1000 sq. m, featuring an Ed-Tech zone, an Event Zone and a Presentation Area that will encapsulate the journey of the NEP. Apart from this, there will also be a YUVA Corner where interactions with the young PM-YUVA authors will take place and a Child Author Corner where published child authors will interact with the audience. A special G20 Pavilion is also being set up focusing on India’s presidency, and featuring culture and literature of all member countries.

AABP: What is the expanse of the fair? How many exhibitors are expected and from which countries?

Yuvraj: The NDWBF is one of the world’s largest book fairs and is a major calendar event of the publishing industry. This edition of the NDWBF will be organised in the new International Exhibition Centre, Pragati Maidan, covering an area of more than 40,000 sq. m, housing about 2000 stalls and an exhibition area. More than 1000 publishers from India and abroad, including 40 foreign countries are participating in the Fair.

AABP: What kind of footfalls are you expecting?

Yuvraj: As one of the largest expositions in the World, the Fair receives participation from across the globe. Since NDWBF is being held after a gap of two years, hence we are expecting a footfall of 14 to 15 lakh people, bringing together not just publishers and readers but also authors, illustrators, and educationists in meaningful dialogue through various book promotional activities and programs.

AABP: Share some details on the Theme Pavilion on Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav?

Yuvraj: The theme of the fair is Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to promote and bring forth India’s accomplishments as an independent and self-sufficient nation, as well as to reaffirm, honour and pay tribute to the efforts and sacrifices made by our leaders to pay the price of India’s freedom struggle. The centrally-placed Theme Pavilion, specially designed by the National Institute of Design (NID) Ahmedabad – the Design Partner of NDWBF, will feature an exhibition of more than 800 titles on Freedom Fighters, the National Movement etc., in all major Indian languages. Put up across 1000 sq.m. with special exhibits, the Theme Pavilion will also feature an exhibition of more than 750 titles on Freedom Fighters, the National Movement of India, etc., in all major Indian languages and English, and works of 100+ publishers on Digital Exhibition of India’s achievements during the last 75 years, an Events Corner for hosting panel discussions, books and photo exhibitions, book releases, cultural events, workshops, etc.

AABP: France is the Guest of Honour Country at NDWBF 2023. Share details about the delegation from France and other attractions at their pavilion?

Yuvraj: As a follow-up to the PM-President Joint Statement signed in March 2018, France has been designated as the Guest of Honour country at NDWBF 2023, just as India was the Guest of Honour in Paris in 2022.

Book lovers visiting the fair will be afforded a unique opportunity to browse through several French books and translated works as well as interact with the French delegation of 60+ members including writers, publishers, literary agents, and cultural representatives at the Foreign Pavilion along with a variety of literary activities at the Guest of Honour Pavilion.

AABP: Share the details about the New Delhi Rights Table & CEOSpeak?

Yuvraj: NDWBF has the epithet of being one of the largest B2C book fairs in the world. However, it provides exhibitors with unique B2B opportunities as well in the expanding book sector. It is also an excellent place for title promotion, co-publication agreements, and business. In addition to the many literary and publishing seminars and activities held during the Fair, it provides access to South Asia’s publishing and intellectual world. The two-day New Delhi Rights Table (B2B platform for publishers interested in copyright and translation agreements and other business arrangements) will be held on the sidelines. Also, another regular feature of the NDWBF — the CEOSpeak which is a forum for publishing where CEOs and Senior Executives share and exchange ideas about Indian and international book trade will also be held during the Fair.

AABP: Brief us about the other attractions at the fair?

Yuvraj: In addition to its regular features, the event will include, Author’s Corners, Lekhak Manch, International Events Corner, Children’s Pavilion, Theme Pavilion, NEP Pavilion and Amphitheatre. Moreover, the two-day New Delhi Rights Table (B2B platform for publishers interested in copyright and translation agreements and other business arrangements) will be held on the sidelines of the book fair, and the translation grant will be re-launched at this event.

AABP: Cultural shows are an integral part of the fair. What can the visitors expect this time?

Yuvraj: Apart from being a hub of literary activities, NDWBF 2023 will also be witnessing a host of cultural celebrations. The Amphitheatre will be a stage for regular activities, such as Open mics, performances by Army & Police Band, talk shows, folk and cultural performances. There will be special cultural performances by participating States. Keeping in tune with the theme of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, interactions with War Heroes, recitals of Shaurya Gathas, patriotic songs, stories, skits, etc will also be organised.

AABP: According to the Union Budget 2023-34, the Centre will set up a National Digital Library for children and youth to facilitate access to quality books across subjects. How will NBT help in this initiative?

Yuvraj: With an increased budget allocation to the Education sector by 8.2% this year, the Government has made Education a priority. The Hon’ble Finance Minister talked about promoting reading of non-curricular titles in regional languages to make up for the pandemic time learning loss, and she commended and encouraged NBT-India’s role in supporting the government’s initiative to set up a National Digital Library for children and youth by providing its expertise and resources in the publishing and dissemination of books.

National Book Trust, India has titles in over 55 Indian languages, including tribal languages and dialects as well as in Braille. And we have been making these books accessible in all corners of the country through our mobile exhibition vans, exhibitions, and we have been setting up panchayat libraries and knowledge communication centres.

In tune with the Hon’ble Finance Minister’s vision and statement, NBT-India will be expanding its mandate and create accessibility and availability of Digital Library to the children and youth across the country.

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