Tag Archives: Vijayawada Book Festival

India: For the love of second-hand books

By Swati Sanyal Tarafdar

The complete 32-volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica lay strewn over the book counter at Dhananjay Pandey’s stall at the Vijayawada Book Festival. Pandey, owner of the Pratik Book Centre in Mumbai, notes that the printing of this enormous collection was suspended in 2010. One can get a digital version these days.

As customers browse through his collection, he proudly shows off a set of The Book of Knowledge: Children’s Encyclopedia, printed 100 years ago – the cover discoloured with age, but its pages in good state; a set of huge, hardbound foreign hobby books for children’s items to be made by classy moms – also a few decades old and not available any more; huge atlases, books on history, numerous yellow-paged worm-infected classics and novels.

Most are price-tagged at 50 percent below their retail value, and the aged novels are available for 100 rupees, or less than $2 each.

In the absence of a decent library in the city, book lovers in Vijayawada, the present capital of the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, look forward to their favourite annual fixture: the Vijayawada Book Festival which begins on January 1 every year. The festival runs for 11 days and is dotted with discussions, seminars, book releases, cultural programmes, competitions for children, walks-for-books and more.

This year, there are 328 stalls and most of the big players in the south Indian publishing scene are participating in the event. Read more

Source: Al Jazeera

Only literature unites people: Pratibha Ray

Politics or religion cannot unite, they only divide people. Only literature can act as a binding force, said well known Odiya writer and recipient of the Jnanpeeth Award Pratibha Ray.

Addressing the inaugural session of the annual Vijayawada Book Festival at Swaraj Maidan on Tuesday, Ms. Ray said language may be regional but literature is universal. “Language is not a barrier, it is our strength,” she emphasised. Describing books as treasure houses of words, she said literature ignites culture. “A writer begins the book and the reader finishes it. I think all books are left incomplete, as a writer takes the reader into the subject and leaves him to draw his own conclusion,” she said citing the example of the holy scriptures of Geeta. “When Gandhiji was asked who inspired him to practice non-violence, his answer was ‘Geeta’. Nathuram Godse, who killed Gandhiji, was also asked who inspired him to kill Gandhiji and his answer was the same –Geeta.”

Read more