Kolkata, Jan 25 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) The 35th Kolkata Book Fair got underway at the Milan Mela ground on the eastern fringes of the city, marking the beginning of a 12-day cultural carnival that the entire city of book lovers await the whole year.
With America the focul theme of the year, the inaugural ceremony was graced by Richard Ford, Pullitzer Award winneing American novelist, along with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Indian writer Atin Bandyopadhyay.
US Ambassador to India Timorthy J. Roemer was also present.
The participating countries include Bangladesh, Britain, the US, China, Vietnam and Italy while the participating states are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharastra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand.
The lifetime achievement award, promising author award and promising publisher author were bagged by author Nabaneeta Deb Sen, Pracheta Gupta and Talpata respectively, officials said.
More than five hundred stalls have been put up at the fair.
There is no entry free to the fair this year as the Book Sellers and Publishers Guild had decided to waive the fees as a mark of respect to Rabindranath Tagore, whose 150th Birth Anniversary is being celebrated this year.
The Kolkata Book Fair ends on Feb 6.
The organisers are upbeat this year about the arrangements and they expect the crowd to be larger than the previous year.