Singapore has been designated Guest-of-Honour Country at the Chennai Book Fair (1-3 June 2016), the first country to be accorded this status in the Fair’s history.
Presented by National Arts Council (NAC) and organised by the Association of Singapore Tamil Writers (ASTW), this is also Singapore’s inaugural national participation, with a delegation of 8 writers and a dedicated Singapore Pavilion. The Singapore Pavilion will organise daily programmes featuring Singapore authors, such as panel discussions, readings, and meet-the-author sessions. Books by Singapore authors Sithuraj Ponraj and JM Sali, as well as the ASTW, will be launched at the Fair.
Some 120 titles by Singapore Tamil writers will be available on display and for sale at the Pavilion. Reprinted classics by Cultural Medallion and SEA Write award winners including Rama Kannabiran, Naa Govindasamy, P Krishnan, JM Sali, KTM Iqbal, and Maa Ilangkanna will be amongst those titles. Readers will also get to sample children’s books in Tamil showcased by Singapore publishers. The Pavilion will also carry selected English titles and English translations of Singapore titles in other languages.
The writers participating in the fair include:
- Naa Aandeappan (நா ஆண்டியப்பன்)
- JM Sali (ஜே எம் சாலி)
- Mathangi (மாதங்கி)
- Pichinikadu Elango (பிச்சினிக்காடு இளங்கோ)
- Rama Vairavan (இராம வைரவன்)
- Sithuraj Ponraj (சித்துராஜ் பொன்ராஜ்)
- Premalatha Govin
The publisher Crimson Earth Pte Ltd (கிரிம்சன் எர்த் நிறுவனம்) will also participate in the fair.
NAC said in a statement that through Singapore’s participation at the CBF, the NAC seeks to provide more opportunities for Singapore writers and publishers to reach out to the Indian market, and build stronger networks with the region’s key industry players and publishers. This will help create more exposure for Singapore Tamil literature in India, thus raising the profile of Singapore writers in the key Indian market of Chennai. Singapore’s participation also reflects the vibrancy of our literary and publishing scene in the four official languages, and positions Singapore as a hub for creative literary content.
The annual Chennai Book Fair (CBF) was inaugurated in 1977 and organised by the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI). CBF is India’s second largest consumer book fair, and is the largest exhibition platform for Tamil-language publishers to showcase their books as well as to introduce Singaporean Tamil writers and writing to Tamil readers in India.
The Fair has attracted the participation of Tamil and international publishers, including the Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, creating many opportunities for publishers from across South India and the region to network with their international counterparts. The Fair also includes some programming elements, from colouring contests for young children and cultural programmes, to orations and panel discussions from eminent writers and literary personalities. The 2015 Fair had over 700 booths representing most major publishing companies in India, attracting about 900,000 visitors over 13 days, with combined sales of over Rs. 120,000,000 (approximately S$283,000).