Professor Dr. Rashid Askari, former Vice Chancellor of Islamic University in Kushtia,has underscored the need for a comprehensive and technologically equipped “online book fair” amid the pandemic avoiding any physical engagement.
He expressed the view while addressing a dialogue on the sideline of the 1st Virtual Book Fair UK.The UK Virtual Book Fair organised a panel discussion titled ‘Book Fair in the Time of Pandemic’ on Saturday.
Experts from UK, Bangladesh, India, Poland, France and Israel took part in the discussion.
The session was presented by the eminent Bangladeshi scholar, poet, translator, essayist, and editor of the literary magazine Teerandaz, Professor Dr. Masuduzzaman while as a representative of Bangladesh, Dr. Rashid Akari, a Bengali-English writer, fictionist, columnist, translator, media personality and an academic attended as discussants at the programme.
The noted Indian Bengali poet, editor, translator Subodh Sarkar, French poet and translator Marilyne Bertoncini, Polish author and translator Anna Maria Stępień, Israeli poet, writer and publisher Soshana Vegh, Bangladeshi-born UK academic and writer Mehdi Mahmud Chowdhury were also present as the discussants.
Dr. Askari said ''Now after participating in the UK Virtual Book Fair, I am left with the realization that, maybe, our Book Fair too could have yielded a better result, if it had been organized in a blended manner—both physically and virtually in keeping with the pandemic situation''
''Due to the prolonged pandemic, book fairs have been reduced to an endangered species surviving only on the online virtual world, which is a simulated three-dimensional world created by our computers and smartphones. And we are having to adjust to this brave new world of technology.'' said Dr. Rashid Askari.The 1st Virtual Book Fair UK kicked off on April 23, 2021 stressing the theme-- ‘Real Life Stories’. Scheduled to continue till May 9, 2021, the events of the book fair include book promotion and sale, literary and artistic tributes to English literature, conferences, interviews, workshops, shows, music, stories and the like.