Chennai Book Fair to open on January 6; transgender community to get a stall

The 46th edition of Chennai Book Fair organised by the BookSellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI) in association with the Tamil Nadu government is set to begin from January 6 at YMCA Grounds near Nandanam in Chennai.

Chief Minister M K Stalin will inaugurate the event which will conclude on January 22. School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi is also set to take part in the event. The fair would be open from 11 am to 9 pm.

The organisers said they would be hosting an international book fair at the same venue from January 16 to 18 in which publishers from over 40 countries are expected to participate.

Addressing reporters, S K Murugan, secretary, BAPASI, said that though they had been getting a lot of requests from authors and publishers to feature their works, they are able to provide space only for 800 stalls due to space constraints.

“This year, the committee has decided to allocate a stall to transgenders community to feature their works. We thank the government for bringing the international book fair to take place alongside the Chennai Book Fair. We expect more footfall this year as we will be able to run the fair even post Pongal holidays which will allow more people, who will return to Chennai after the holidays, to participate in the event,” he said.

CM Stalin will present the Kalaignar M Karunanidhi Porkizhi award among other BAPASI literary awards to distinguished authors and publishers on the inaugural day, he added.

The event will also witness the participation of various authors from other states as well as institutes to promote literature like the International Institute of Tamil Studies, Centre’s Sahitya Akademi, National Book Trust of India, Thanjavur Tamil University, among others.

Dismissing allegations that there is a caste-based discrimination in allotting stalls at the annual book fair, Murugan said that the issue arises as members ask for additional stalls. “When we explain to them that there are space constraints and we cannot allocate more than one stall, they claim we are not providing them any stall at all, which is not the case,” he said.

The organisers said the Covid-19 protocols which were followed last year will be followed this time as well.

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