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Big library idea comes from small children

By Huang Zhiling

Construction of the world’s first panda-themed library is expected to start early next year at a primary school in Chengdu, Sichuan province, with the facility expected to open about six months later.

“People worldwide will have free access to it online,” said Zhang Mingrong, headmistress of the Chengdu Panda Road Primary School.

The school has a three-story building, the second floor of which currently serves as a convention center. It will be turned into a studio for videos about pandas. The third floor, currently a library, will be designed with five boat-shaped sections symbolizing swimming in the sea of knowledge.

“Each section symbolizes a continent. The five sections will house publications and audiovisual materials about pandas from Asia, Europe, America, Africa and Oceania,” Zhang said. Read more

Source: China Daily


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Dear Independent Bookstores, Thank You For Everything!

By Tanu Shree Singh

The year: 1985

The place: Delhi.

The occasion: Nani gave some pocket money to two grand-kids who were now itching to go to the nearby market and splurge.

I remember the excitement. I remember the trip to the market. I remember us being in a hurry to step out of the car, and I remember the towering bookshelves. I definitely remember the smell of books, the glossy, new ones that the fat pocket money could buy, and I remember the bliss. Trips to bookstores were few and far between, mostly because we stayed far away and splurging was not an option. But those few trips to those tiny bookstores tucked away in inconspicuous corners are etched in our hearts forever.

The year: 2015

The place: Leh

The occasion: Nothing. The younger one spotted a bookstore.

“Can I go in, please?”

All I could do is smile.

We entered the tiny bookstore that also doubled as a stationery shop. The younger one ran his hands over some books, took some out, flipped a few pages, and when no one was looking drew a deep breath in. I caught him, and sheepish, understanding grins were exchanged.

When we stepped outside, he smiled and whispered, “I find bookstores calming, and reassuring. Sort of addictive — one can never pass one by without going in, no?” Read more
Source: Huffington Post


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Abu Dhabi International Book Fair writes another successful chapter

By Saeed Saeed

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair completed its 27th edition on Tuesday. On the surface the event did what it was designed to do. Thousands of books were sold, literary awards were handed out, a new publishing house was announced, publishing deals were signed and authors’ works were snapped up in languages ranging from Chinese to Turkish.

But it is only when you spend a serious amount of time at the fair, held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, that you witness the little moments and see the threads that make it unique.

Make no mistake, the book fair is a travelling circus.

There are the book traders who function almost like roadies, with Abu Dhabi being part of an established route that includes Cairo and Doha earlier in the year and Tehran and Lagos next week. All that travelling, packing and unpacking of books can be tiring at best; hence Idriss Mears’s decision to carve himself a space on the floor for coffee breaks beside his Blackstone & Holywell stand, which specialises in spiritual literature. Read more

Source: The National


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Islamic romance novels set hearts aflutter in Bangladesh

Abubakar was inspired to take up the pen in the late 1970s, when as a bookseller he lamented that most novels obsessed with the cosmopolitan lifestyles of modern, elite Bangladeshis

Kasem bin Abubakar was told nobody would buy his chaste romance novels about devout young Muslims finding love within the strict moral confines of Bangladeshi society.

And yet his tales of lovers whispering sweet nothings between calls to prayer sold millions in the 1980s and proved a huge hit among young girls from Bangladesh’s rural, conservative heartland.

Now his work is undergoing something of a renaissance as Bangladesh slides from the moderate Islam worshipped for generations to a more conservative interpretation of the scriptures.

“Girls write me love letters with ink dipped in their own blood. Some were desperate to marry me” Abubakar told AFP, recounting his surprise at young women making a traditional gesture of intense devotion to a greying author. Read more

Source: Dhaka Tribune


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AFCC to showcase Singaporean children’s authors and illustrators at a pre- festival event Makan & Mingle

For the first time ever, the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), an annual children’s literary event organised by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS), is putting together a showcase of Singaporean children’s authors and illustrators at a pre- festival evening event, the AFCC Makan & Mingle.

This one-of-a-kind event is a lead-up to the eighth edition of the AFCC 2017, set to take place from 17 to 21 May 2017 at the National Library Building, Singapore.

Makan & Mingle will be held on 18 April 2017, at L5, The Treetop, *SCAPE, from 7–9pm, and will showcase more than 100 children’s and young adult titles created by Singaporean authors and illustrators, published in the last two years.

Titles will range from popular books penned by award-winning authors like Emily Lim, Hidayah Amin, Don Bosco and Neil Humphreys, to works by comic artists like David Liew and Evangeline Neo.

Translated titles, as well as several titles written in other Mother Tongue languages, will also be featured. Participating publishers include Epigram Books, Ethos Books, Math Paper Press, Armour Publishing, Bubbly Books, Crimson Earth, Pepperdog Press, World Scientific, Balestier Press, and others.

“We hope that Makan & Mingle will become a regular showcase for the talent and works of Singaporean authors and illustrators,”says Mr Kenneth Quek, Festival Director of AFCC 2017. “We are excited to be able to display these home grown works in one space, and to highlight them to the industry as well as the general public in Singapore, as a precursor to UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day which falls on April 23.”

Guests include local writers and illustrators, publishers, pre-school and primary school teachers, parents and general readers. At the free-to-enter event, guests can browse through the book exhibits, interact with the authors and illustrators, and also purchase titles from the pop-up bookstore set-up by Closetfulofbooks.

Publishing professionals and representatives from partner organisations in the industry, such as the National Library Board, POPULAR, and The Select Centre, will also be present. Members from other key organisations like ECDA have also been invited.

The AFCC Makan & Mingle, which doubles up as an important networking opportunity for industry players, will conclude a cocktail reception and the announcement of the shortlists for the 2017 Scholastic Picture Book Award and the 2017 AFCC Asian Children’s Book Award by Genting Singapore, both of which are managed by NBDCS.

For more information, please see visit www.afcc.com.sg

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Omar El Akkad on the journalistic career that inspired him to write American War

By Ben East

Rising sea levels have swept away the southern coast of the United States. South Carolina is surrounded by a wall to prevent a virus from spreading. It is 2075 and the country is in the throes of a second civil war, ignited when southern states refused to accede to a law banning fossil fuels.

Author Omar El Akkad had so many plates to spin in the piecing together of his ambitious debut novel, he had to sit down and draw a map of the new US to refer to. This was, however, not the best idea for a journalist who is used to providing video content for his newspaper.

“I sketched out what the country would look like and the settings of the book, and then I pasted this giant wall map of the US to my office wall with Post-it notes on it,” he says. “I totally forgot that I had it behind me as I was doing a video piece, with this massive note on it saying ‘area of plague’. It was not a good look.” Read more
Source: The National


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China: Legislation to encourage reading

By Xinhua

The Chinese government has publicized a draft ordinance promoting “reading for all”, to solicit public opinion, a move to create better reading habits among the population.

Realizing the importance of reading in national strength, China has gradually raised “reading for all” as a national strategy.

The call for a love of reading among all the population appeared in an array of important government and Communist Party of China (CPC) documents, including the report at the 18th CPC national congress and the government work reports delivered at the annual parliamentary session over the past four years.

There are still problems, however, which need to be resolved with the legislation, such as a lower reading rate compared with the world’s major countries, inadequate and inequitable public resources, and mixed quality of reading materials.

A national survey by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication showed that Chinese read 3.26 e-books and 4.58 paper books on average in 2015, compared with an average of 16 books in Europe and the United States. Read more

Source: China Daily


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Langfang gears up to host National Book Expo

By Mei Jia

Langfang in North China’s Hebei province, which is near Beijing and Tianjin, is set to host the 27th National Book Expo this summer.

The exhibition, which was first held in 1980, is one of the oldest book events of its kind in the country. In recent years, the expo has grown, and now features talks by writers, reading promotion activities as well as showcasing regional culture.

For years, the event was mostly hosted by provincial capitals around the country. The successful expo held in Baotou in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region in July “inspired us to look for smaller cities”, says Yan Xiaohong, vice-minister of Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Langfang, with a population of 4.6 million, is the first city in Hebei to be honored for promoting reading, with a lot of book events held in the past three years, drawing around 150,000 people.

Publishing is an important industry in Hebei, with the majority of its cultural businesses comprising media, publishing, printing and binding. Read more

Source: China Daily


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Working It Out: How to be a published author?

By Siddhartha S

I have intentionally added the word ‘published’ to the title of this article. I wish for all the aspiring authors to not only write but also get published. As a published author, I often get asked how to be an author so I take this opportunity to share everything I learned about publishing over the last decade. I believe writing is one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with your creative faculties. Even as I write these lines, I am excited because I have no ideas of the words which will follow. A published book is the best example that the intangible becomes tangible if you are willing to invest time.

Believe that you can be an author: Writing a book is definitely a long term effort. No matter how much impressive they sound but never sign up for workshops that offer to make you a published author in a month. Try to deliver a baby in month and chances are high it will be healthy of fully developed. There might be few exceptions but generally I believe that it takes a minimum of one year to write a good book. Read more

Source: The Indian Express

 


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India’s largest library devoid of staff

By Soumya Das

National Library’s foreign language section has been without staff for a decade

The foreign language section of the National Library — responsible for the collection of foreign language books and exchange of the same with libraries of other countries — has been without staff for almost a decade.

Library sources say the “complete absence of staff” has not only hit the collection of foreign publications but has also brought down the number of readers in the foreign language section to almost nil.

Arun Kumar Chakraborty, Director-General in charge of the National Library, skirted the issue. Read more

Source: The Hindu