14th Delhi Book Fair Inaugurated

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New Delhi, Aug 30 (UNI) Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, inaugurating the 14th Delhi Book Fair today confessed to being a "bookworm" and that he felt "quite at home in a familiar environment" at the fair.

Jointly organised by the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) and the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the fair would be open to the public at Hall Nos 8-12A at Pragati Maidan from 1000 hrs to 2000 hrs till September 7.

After lighting the ceremonial lamp, Mr Ansari quipped, ''I am a bookworm. I am in a familiar environment and feel at home.'' After taking a round of the stalls, he told mediapersons, ''The fair has an excellent collection. It has brought books of different genres under one roof.'' The Vice President also pointed out that these types of book fairs provide an opportunity to explore and encourage the reading habit among the new generation.

The theme for this year's fair is ''Women Writing'' as an acknowledgement of the growing contribution of women in this field.

Ms Sheela Bhide, Chairman and Managing Director of ITPO, told UNI that the idea came up in collaboration with Lekhika Sangh, a women writers' body which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Prominent among the 30 women authors invited are Sahitya Akademi Award winner Anita Desai, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, IAS officer Vandana Kumari Jena and Principal of Lakshman Public School Usha Ram.

Another feature of the fair is the launch of 'Bolti Kitaben', a concept popular in the West, in which novels are recorded in audio CD format.

Star Publications launched the first set of 13 such books in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. Each set consists of a novel of popular writers like Prem Chand and Amrita Pritam.

More than 300 leading Indian publishers in about 700 stalls are participating in the fair.

The major attraction is the participation of eight foreign countries, including Pakistan, the US, China and Spain.

''The fair is a platform for publishers of one region within the country to meet with those of other regions and also from other countries,'' Mr Shakti Malik, General Secretary, FIP said.

UNI SKB NK RN1609

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