Seoul International Book Fair Part II: My Take on the ‘Book Fair’

Hope you liked my last post and hope it gave you a surge of pride, like it gave to me. Being an Indian, it was one hell of an opportunity for me to attend the Seoul Book Festival live, given that India was the Guest of Honour this time around. But, right now I’m not going there.

What I’m going to concentrate here is not on the international ties between India and Korea but the ‘book fair’. The grandeur of the show put up by the National Book Trust (the nodal agency for the co-ordination of Guest of Honour programmes at SIBF) was enchanting. However, I found the Indian corner to be the best of them all and I am not being biased, it truly was. Let me scribble down a few details of the ‘book fair’ in Indian Pavilion.

The first visitor to the Indian Pavilion was none other than Ms. Park Geun-hye, Honourable President of the Republic of Korea. (below is the picture) She was received by Mr. Jitin Prasada, Hon’ble Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Government of India who was leading a delegation of 40 people from India. Other dignitaries included Mr. A Sethumadhavan, Chairman, National Book Trust, India; M A Sikandar, Director, National Book Trust, India; Mr. Vishnu Prakash, Ambassador of India to Seoul and the likes. Along with them, 22 Indian publishers also participated as exhibitors.

seoul international book fair 2013

True to the words of Mr. Jitin Prasad, “The range of books that have been put on display, alongwith the colourful posters, have spread very vibrant feelings.” The National Book Trust displayed the collection that was as diverse as the Indian culture. From children’s literature to the classic literature by Rabindranath Tagore as well as the English translation of the old Indian literature, the fair had it all. Among the popular stopovers at the massive Indian pavilion, was a corner exclusively dedicated to the books on Indian Cinema. A little bit of glamour and glitterati to up the glam quotient.

Detailed data here:

167 books were displayed in children’s literature of various Indian Publishers.

52 books were displayed on Indian Cinema

55 books were displayed on Mahatma Gandhi

52 books were displayed on Indian literature in English translation

23 books on & by Rabindranath Tagore

Around 300 books were displayed by National Book trust which are published by them.

Along with the collection of books the remarkable highlights showcased on the great noble souls stole the show.

The legends whom they showcased were:

Rabindranath Tagore – First Asian to be awarded the Nobel prize in literature in 1913

C V Raman – Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930

Har Gobind Khorana – The Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968

Subrahmanya Channdrasekhar – Nobel Prize in physics in 1983

Mother Teresa – Nobel peace prize in 1979

Amartya Sen – in 1998 for his contributions to welfare economics.

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan – The nobel prize in chemistry in 2009.

The data makes it evident enough; India was totally on the roll. Being the third largest country after US & UK in terms of publishing books in English, India totally stood up to the expectations. In crux, the book fair was an absolute hit. An experience I’d earnestly look forward to in the coming years as well.

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