New Delhi World Book Fair to focus on ‘Multilingual INDIA: A Living Tradition’

As always, NDWBF 2024 promises to be a literary extravaganza, fostering a love for reading and promoting diverse voices, languages and cultures.

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Yuvraj Malik, Director, National Book Trust, India shares what to expect at the upcoming New Delhi World Book Fair 2024.

AABP: What are the key highlights and special features of the upcoming New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) 2024?

Yuvraj: The New Delhi World Book Fair 2024 promises to be a literary extravaganza, with a focus on promoting diverse voices and fostering a love for reading. Key highlights include a rich array of book launches, author interactions, and literary discussions. Special features comprise thematic pavilions, engaging activities for visitors, and a vibrant cultural program. In addition, there will a dedicated Theme Pavilion on Multilingualism, fun activities in Children’s Pavilion, special B2B zones and business meets, Authors’ Corners, Publishing Conferences, Rights Exchange Forum, and of course the cultural evenings! The Guest of Honour Country this year is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

AABP: Brief us about the Theme Pavilion.

Yuvraj: Based on ‘Multilingual INDIA: A Living Tradition’, the Theme of NDWBF 2024 will emphasize on how multilingualism is a living tradition in India where all languages have their own heritage, contribution and role in the making of a plural and multilingual fabric of the country. The interaction of languages and literary traditions in India has provided a unique diversity, a sense of mutual understanding and vast literary heritage in the form of Epics, the Vedas, and the Puranas since the ancient times to Technology/AI enabled modern living. The Theme Pavilion will be built across 1000 sq.m. with a special focus on multilingualism and National Education Policy 2020. How multilingualism has been emphasised in NEP 2020 will be integrated in the Theme.

A range of books on contemporary themes in various Indian languages will be exhibited. In the Pavilion, under the exhibition of ‘Linguistic Tradition’, the iconic linguistics (known for their multilingual works) from different languages and their works will be projected to showcase India’s Linguistic Heritage. There will be an interactive exhibit where visitors can know common words by typing in their preferred language. A space for Technological Innovations to preserve and promote Indian languages in contemporary times, also called ‘Digital Experience’ Area, is also being created for the visitors.

There will be a booth for multilingual audio books where visitors can listen to the text in the book in their mother tongue. A rare exhibit of iconic/ rare books published in various languages will be showcased at the pavilion. A special attention will be given to Braille books and Sign Language, where Braille books brought out in Indian languages will be displayed; and there will also be a display of hand gestures used in Sign language. Of course, there will be a Selfie point to capture the unforgettable moments of the Fair. The pavilion will be designed using the illustrations and text from the bilingual/ trilingual books as well as the select children’s books translated into many Indian languages including tribal languages.

AABP: What about the guest of honour country this time?

Yuvraj: This year the Guest of Honour Country for the New Delhi World Book Fair 2024 is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties. This Guest of Honour Presentation will strengthen cultural ties and provide a platform for the exchange of literature, ideas, and traditions between India and Saudi Arabia. Book lovers visiting the fair will be afforded a unique opportunity to browse through several books in Arabic, as well as translated works. They will also be able to interact with the delegation including writers, publishers, literary agents, and cultural representatives at the Foreign Pavilion along with a variety of literary and cultural activities at the Guest of Honour Pavilion.

AABP: Share the details about the Rights Table. How many publishers are expected to be present?

Yuvraj: New Delhi Rights Table (NDRT) is one of the significant and regular features of New Delhi World Book Fair. It is an engaging B2B session, which provides opportunities to Publishers, Rights Agents, Literary Agents, Authors, Translators and other Publishing professionals from both India and abroad to explore the world of books, meet each other, present their products and ideas as well buy and sell Rights. The last edition of NDRT saw a participation of over 80 publishers from India and countries like Algeria, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Kenya, Nepal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Turkey, UAE and USA. The participants had over 300 business meetings among themselves during the two-day event.

The next edition of New Delhi Rights Table will be held on 12 and 13 February 2024 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The registration process is on and the same can be accessed through the website of National Book Trust, India.

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