Sheikh Hasina inaugurates month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday inaugurated the Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2020, saying her government wants to spread Bangladesh’s art, culture and literature across the globe by developing their quality further.
Addressing the opening ceremony on Bangla Academy premises in Dhaka in the afternoon, she also put emphasis on more translation of Bangla literature.
“We want the people of different languages of the world to know our rich literature and culture,” she said, and added that Bangla Academy has taken adequate initiatives to this end, reports BSS.
Hasina said the Ekushey Book Fair is now not only a centre for selling and purchasing of books, it is also a fair of the hearts of the Bangalis.
“For this book fair, Bangalis living in different parts of the world come home and foreign nationals also visit Bangladesh to witness Bangalis’ unprecedented love for books,” she said.
She reminisced how she used to spend hours after hours at the book fair back when she was a student. “But now I don’t have that freedom as I’m the prime minister,” she said.
This year, Bangla Academy has taken up the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the book fair’s theme and dedicated the fair to the Father of the Nation.
At the outset of the function, a minute’s silence was observed to show profound respect to the memories of the 1952 Language Movement martyrs.
The prime minister also handed over the Bangla Academy Literary Award 2019 among 10 poets and writers at Sunday's event.
This year’s winners are: Makid Haider (poem), Wasi Ahmed (fiction), Swarochis Sarker (essay and research), Khairul Alam Sabuj (translation), Ratan Siddique (drama), Rahim Shah (juvenile literature), Rafiqul Islam Bir Uttam (Liberation War-based literature), Nadira Mazumder (science fiction), Faruque Moinuddin (autobiography or travelogue), and Saimon Zakaria (folklore).
Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu, also unveiled the cover of Bangabandhu’s third book titled “Amar Dekha Naya Chin” (The New China as I Saw).
After the inauguration ceremony, she visited different stalls in the fair.
Bangla Academy sources said that this year the land earmarked for the fair has been expanded to 800,000 square feet, on which a total of 873 units have been allocated to 560 organizations.
The authorities have allotted 179 units at the Bangla Academy ground to 126 organizations and 694 units at the Suhrawardy Udyan to 434 organizations. A total of 34 pavilions have also been allocated this year.
The fair will remain open from 3pm to 9pm from Sundays to Thursdays; and from 11am to 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
The fair, dedicated to the 1952 Language Movement martyrs, will remain open from 8am to 8pm on February 21.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, Bangla Academy Director General Habibullah Siraji, National Professor Dr Anisuzzamanin, speaker and deputy speaker of the parliament, ministers, the prime minister’s advisers, MPs, foreign diplomats, Bangla Academy fellows, senior journalists, writers, poets, publishers, and senior civil and military officials were also present at the event.
Addressing the function, the prime minister had also greeted everyone, including Bangla Academy and local and foreign publishers, involved in organizing the Ekushey Book Fair.