The 21st North-East Book Fair was inaugurated by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu in Guwahati, Assam on November 1 Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: It’s been a milestone for the ongoing North-East Book Fair 2019, organised by the All Assam Publishers and Book Sellers Association, at Chandmari area of Guwahati in Assam. Over 300 books will be officially released during the 12-day fair that is on till November 12.

As per records, altogether 72 books have already been released officially during the first two days of the fair itself. Apart from this, on a daily basis, lots of books are being released at the stalls of different publishing houses participating in the fair.

Announcing this, Imran Ahmed, president of North-East Book Fair, told EastMojo that another 200 books will be released in the remaining days of the fair. The book fair, which was started on November 1, is being held at the Assam Engineering Institute (AEI) playground in Chandmari till November 12.

“Honourable Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the fair and we are seeing a very good response from the public,” said Ahmed. The annual book fair draws in many bibliophiles from across the state, each taking their time to sort out their favourite books.

Over 70 books were released in the first two days of the book fair

Team EastMojo had a chance to talk with eminent writer Anee Hazarika, who had her book Swapnapuri Mumbai (dream city Mumbai) released on November 6. Hazarika was born and brought up in Jorhat, Assam and is currently working in Mumbai. She constantly contributes to the local newspapers of Assam and also has a column in Asam Bani newspaper titled ‘Mumbai Mail.’

“When we say Mumbai as the city of dreams people usually refer it to Bollywood, which is not true. Mumbai is a place of work culture. Here, people realise their life and then enjoy it,” said the writer. The book consists of the simple yet arduous task of finding a rental room to the long train journeys where women cut their vegetables right in the train itself as they do not find an iota of time back home. “Amidst all the glam and glitter of Mumbai, the book also talks about the shoes, belts and earthen lamps which are manufactured in the Dharavi slum. The dhobi ghats, where prominent hospitals and five-star hotels get their laundry done, also find a mention,” added Hazarika.

Prominent music director Tapan Bhatacharya of famous Jitu-Tapam duo, noted lyricist Kirti Kamal Bhuyan and some of the leading writers of the state were also present during the release of Swapnapuri Mumbai at the book fair premises on Wednesday evening.

Eminent writer Anee Hazarika releasing her third book titled Swapnapuri Mumbai

With over 50 lakh books sold in just two to three days, Ahmed is very positive about this year’s fair. “Durjoy Dutta has been coming to this festival for the last two years and he will grace the fair this year again. We also had a great interactive session with Penguin author Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty who had a good amount of knowledge about Assam Accord,” said Ahmed.

Terming the NE Book Fair as a people’s book fair, he added that the fair also has a public advisory committee of various intellectuals and that this fair has provided free entry for students.

Publishing houses from all the parts of the country as well as Bangladesh took part in this year’s fair. This includes McGraw-Hill Education, Penguin Random House, The Hindu groups and many more, Ahmed added.

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