Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the traditional Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2023 on Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan premises on its traditional date of the first day of February this year after a three-year interval.
"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to open the book fair on February 1 at 3 pm," "Bangla Academy director general poet Mohammad Nurul Huda told a press conference at Bangla Academy today.
Besides, the Premier will also hand over the prizes among the recipients of the Bangla Academy Literary Award-2022 along with unwrapping seven books, published by the Bangla Academy, Nurul Huda added.
Bangla Academy President writer Selina Hossain will preside over the inaugural function while Bangla Academy director general poet Mohammad Nurul Huda will deliver the welcome speech.
The theme of this year's book fair has been fixed "Paro Bai, Garo Desh: Bangabandhu Bangladesh (Read Book build country: Bangabandhu's Bangladesh).
Bangla Academy Secretary (Joint Secretary) A H M Lokman, Chief Marketing Officer of bKash Mir Nawbut Ali and Managing Director of Cross Work M A Maruf also addressed the press conference.
In 2020, the traditional book fair began on February 2 due to elections to the two Dhaka city corporations while the fair was differed till March 18 in 2021 and February 15 in 2022 due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The book fair will remain open for all from 3 pm to 9 pm on working days and 11:00 am to 9 pm on public holidays with a one-hour break for lunch and prayers, said Dr KM Muzahidul Islam, Member Secretary of the Amar Ekushey Book Fair Committee.
A total of 901 stalls have been allocated to 601 organizations. The authorities have allotted 165 stalls to 112 organizations for the Bangla Academy ground and 736 stalls to 489 organizations for the Suhrawardy Udyan.
Moreover, a total of 38 pavilions have been allocated this year. Last year, a total of 774 stalls were allocated in favour of 534 organizations. Apart from this, there will be 153 stalls at Little Magazine Chattar, which were 127 in 2022, 140 in 2021 and 155 in 2020.
There will be strict security arrangements in and around the book fair venue to avert any unpleasant incident and every nook and cranny of the 1.1 million square feet space of the fair venue will be under CCTV camera coverage.
"Some changes have been brought in by arranging stalls and pavilions and entry and exit points. Disciplinary and monitoring activities will be strengthened and digital boards will replace previous analogue information boards," said Muzahidul, also Bangla Academy director (administration, human resources and planning division).
"We've brought such changes this year for two reasons - Metrorail station near Bangla Academy and the request of publishers to move seven pavilions with 182 stalls from the area of the Institution of Engineers to the main arena of the fair," said Dr Mujahid.
A major change will be visible in setting up the stalls in the book fair as the previous cluster method is being changed and all the 736 stalls inside Suhrawardi Udyan have been set up in a way so that a visitor can see the whole fairground standing at any corner of the fair.
Seven pavilions with 182 stalls have been shifted from the Institution of Engineers area to the main venue of the fairground upon the requests of publishers concerning their business issues, he said.
And thus, the main entry point to the fair's Suhrawardi Udyan area has been changed and the temple gate of the Suhrawardi Udyan just opposite the Bangla Academy will be the main gate of entry.
The stalls of service-providing institutions like police, Ansar and fire service have been set up on the spot near the Institution of Engineers while two confined zones out of the main venue have also been dedicated for food courts and there will be no unorganized, open or street type food shops, he added.
'Shishu Chattar' has also been shifted from its previous place to the Sadhu Shanga area this year.
Like previous years, the main stage of the fair will be on the Bangla Academy premises while book unwrapping and 'Lekhak Bolchi' stages will be set up on Suhrawardi Udyan premises, said Mujahidul.
Another addition to this year's book fair is the 'Digital Board' which will be visible in the key points of the fairground containing different types of information, including newly published books to let the visitors get informed easily.
Taskforce will be on 'hard-line' in the book fair from the very first day to ensure that rules, regulations and instructions are being followed properly and thus, the publishers are asked to submit information each day to the Bangla Academy about each new book coming in the fairground.
At the end of this year's book fair, four awards will be given under different categories.
'Munir Chowdhury Smriti Award' will be given to three organisations for the best book, considering the art of the book while 'Rokanuzzaman Khan Dadabhai Smriti Award' will be given to the best book written based on children.
'Artist Qayyum Chowdhury Smriti Award' will be given to a stall for the best decoration.