Holidaymakers reign over book fair

Mohiuddin Alamgir

03Ekushey Book Fair drew a huge holiday crowd on Friday, with a large number of book enthusiasts buying books for children, novels, poetry and other genres.
The fair premises at Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan witnessed the highest number of new arrivals so far — 280 titles — on the day, which was 256 on the previous Friday.
The stall attendants were seen busy dealing with the visitors and big smiles flashed on the face of the publishers as the proceeds were rather handsome on the day.
With the first two hours from 11:00am to 1:00pm dedicated to the children as children’s hour, children’s presence was remarkable in the morning, while the number of visitors of all ages increased as the children’s hours ended.
Miti Osman of Agamee Prokashani and Tuhin Tushar of Anya Prokash said sales in their stalls were satisfactory.
Tuhin said many youths visited their stall and a good many of them bought books, he added.
Ekushey Bangla Prakashan publisher Jahangir Hossain said it was normal that book fair would witness huge crowds on holidays.
Visitors on the day had to wait for about an hour in a queue to enter the fair premises at Bangla Academy premises. Popular writer Muhammed Zafar Iqbal was found giving autographs to his fans.
After sunset, queues were found at all four entrance points at Suhrawardy Udyan and Bangla Academy.
Security personnel were seen struggling to manage the crowd. The visitors needed to fight their way through the archways. Most of the visitors coming out of the fair were found carrying bags full with books.
Al Shahriar, who recently came from the USA, was found roaming at the book fair and buying books.
He said many expatriate Bangladeshi had told him to buy books for them. ‘You can’t imagine how much we miss book fair,’ said Al Shahriar, a BUET alumni, who left Dhaka in 2009.
In the morning, children along with guardians crowded the stalls in the children’s corner, inside Suhrawardy Udyan.
The fair authorities declare children’s hour, when general visitors are not allowed, so that children can buy books without facing any hassle usual on other days. A guardian can accompany a child visitor.
Most of the children bought books based on comic characters and fairy tales.
Stall owners of Sisimpur, children’s popular television series, launched six juvenile literatures and its DVD version at the book fair in the morning, that was attended by cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor and US ambassador to Dhaka Marcia Bernicat and others.
Launching ceremony of a title, Bhuture, written by a class two students Alin Bashar, attracted the attention of many visitors.
On the day, Bangla Academy held a discussion on the past and present status of studies on Nazrul Islam.
It would hold a discussion on past and present status of liberation war studies today.

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