Amar Ekushey Book Fair, the country’s largest annual book fair, has made a grand comeback after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The fair, held on the Bangla Academy premises and adjacent to the capital’s Suhrawardy Udyan, has attracted thousands of readers of all ages in its third weekend since its opening on February 1.
The fair, which carries the theme “Poro Boi, Goro Desh-Bangabandhu’r Bangladesh” (Read Books, Build the Country as Bangladesh dreamt by Bangabandhu) this year, has transformed the area into a bustling hub of literary enthusiasts, giving the fair the ambiance of a refreshing spring zephyr.
What are readers looking for?
The ongoing 2023 Amar Ekushey Book Fair is receiving an overwhelming response from readers, with an evident surge in the sales of classic novels, fiction, and 3D books. Sellers at Tamralipi, Katha Prokash, Afsar Brothers, Akash, Anwesha Publication, and other bookstores vouched for the popularity of classic novels and fictions. The proprietor of Progoti Publisher, Arsar Masud, said, “Pop-Up books or 3-D books are in high demand.”
Additionally, books on the liberation war and political topics are also gaining popularity. Ananya Prakashani reported that novels, short stories, and books on the liberation war are also selling well. Furthermore, more young people are purchasing research books. The manager of Katha Prakashani, Zafirul, remarked that a variety of readers were visiting and purchasing books. Young people are buying more stories and novels. The book “Karna” by Harishankar Zaldas is quite popular among readers. Moreover, there is an increasing trend of younger readers purchasing detective novels.
Renowned author Muhammad Zafar Iqbal has released a new collection of six books, among which “Proloy,” a science fiction book, is in high demand. According to Oitijjhya Publications, translated novels, poetry, and novel books are the most popular these days. Aside from this, poetry and novel books are selling more copies. “Love for Parijat” by Anisul Haque and “Ekattorer Mujeeb” by Mohiuddin Ahmed are also in demand. The variety and uniqueness of books, available at the fair, are attracting a diverse audience, with young readers buying more stories and novels.
The Humayun Ahmed supremacy
Humayun Ahmed, the renowned Bengali novelist who passed away in 2012, is still regarded as one of the greatest Bengali authors of all time, as evidenced by the massive crowds at the stands selling his books. In this year’s book fair, fans were again seen looking through stacks of Humayun Ahmed’s books, talking to stall owners regarding their favourite books, excitedly selecting and buying books.
Md Rejaul of Kakoli Prokashoni said, “Humayun Ahmed is still our top seller, even more so than writers like Zafar Iqbal and Rokib Hasan. His legacy continues to captivate readers and his works remain in high demand.”
Ami Ebong Amra, Aaj Himur Biye, Kothao Keu Nei, Jochna O Jononir Golpo, Matal Haowa, Deyal, Misir Ali Samagra, Himu Samagra, Shankhonil Karagar, Diner Sheshe, K Kotha Koy etc. are some of his best-selling books.
A tradition to honour the martyrs
The traditional Amar Ekushey Book Fair began informally on the Bangla Academy premises in 1972 after the independence of Bangladesh, and the academy formally assumed responsibility for its yearly organisation in 1978. Every year in February, a book fair is held to honour the language heroes who paid the ultimate price with their lives on February 21, 1952, to proclaim Bangla as an official language of then East-Pakistan.
For this year’s book fair, a total of 901 stalls have been assigned to 601 organisations. There are 165 stalls assigned to 112 organisations on the Bangla Academy grounds, and 736 stalls allocated to 489 organisations in Suhrawardy Udyan. In addition, 38 pavilions have been assigned this year. The book fair is open from 3 pm to 9 pm on weekdays and from 11 pm to 9 pm on weekends and public holidays.
As for concluding note, the ongoing Amar Ekushey Book Fair has attracted a diverse range of readers and is witnessing a surge in the sales of classic novels, fiction, 3D books, books on political topics, and those related to the liberation war. With an increasing trend of young people purchasing detective novels, the fair is a testimony to the nation’s passion for literature.