Focussed on facilitating the exchange of knowledge between publishers in Tamil Nadu and those from across the world, the first edition of the Chennai International Book Fair kicked off at the YMCA Grounds in Nandanam on Monday.
The three-day international fair has been organised by the Directorate of Public Libraries, Tamil Nadu Text Book and Educational Services Corporation and Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India.
Set up in a separate space near the ongoing Chennai Book Fair, the International Book Fair has a number of Tamil books on display as well as Tamil publishing houses as participants, in addition to stalls put up by 30 countries.
Separate spaces have been allotted for each participating country and the aim is for them to use the fair as a platform for literary and culture exchange by promoting their authors as well as meeting with Tamil publishers.
“So far, only around 120 books have been translated from Tamil, and many of these books are confined to academic institutions and have not been positioned as marketable books for sale globally across bookstores. Through this fair, we want to take a new approach and change this,” said K. Elambahavath, Director, Directorate of Public Libraries.
“A rights hub has been set up here where publishers, translators and literary agents from the participating countries can meet with Tamil Publishers and authors who hold copyrights to Tamil literature. We are hoping that at least 30 to 50 Tamil literary works get acquired and get translated into several languages,” he explained.
As a part of the fair, the Tamil Nadu government is also providing a global translation grant for promoting Tamil Literature to publishers who express interest in translating Tamil works into their language.
“As like-minded people, we have gathered here today to build a stronger and more intellectual society. Through this International fair, we aim to take Tamil to the world, and bring the world here,” said Minister for School Education Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi. Speaking at the inauguration, he said that while there were 30 countries that have set up stalls at the fair, they hoped to work with many more countries in the years to come.
Two dedicated spaces have been set up for hosting special programmes at the book fair, and a one-day conference on Tamil and global book publishing trends will take place on Tuesday. On the final day of the book fair on Wednesday, an exchange of MoUs between Tamil and foreign publications will take place in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin.