Kohima: While urging the need to nurture reading culture, Nagaland legislator Mmhonlumo Kikon highlighted the need to create a book market for local writers in the state and beyond.

Speaking on Wednesday at the inaugural function of Book Exhibition & Sales, sponsored by Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation Kolkata at the Art & Culture department in Kohima, the Advisor of NRE, IT&C and Science & Technology, said there is now a huge reading population in the state that appreciates the production of knowledge and artistic expressions of local authors.

However, for writers who get their books published, Kikon said their creative outputs must reach many readers for which a market is required.

While he suggested the creation of a healthy book market, Kikon, a writer himself, also advised writers to promote each other. He said active literary criticism is progressive and helps writers understand and appreciate each other. He also urged the need for people to support the local authors and publishers to the fullest.

Kikon also advised local authors to be consistent and encouraged them to regularly participate in literary festivals across the country. Further, Kikon encouraged local writers to explore and consider technological aid for their works.

He also pondered if books of local writers from North East India marketed by mainland publishers is for promotion or for exploitation.

Writer, publisher and journalist Rita Krocha shared about how her grandmother instilled in her the love for stories, which eventually led her to start the Kohima based publication house PenThrill Publication.

Also read: Centre keen to develop north-east, tribal areas: Munda in Nagaland

“It wasn’t something I had even heard of or something I nurtured since childhood. Growing up, I didn’t even know I wanted to be a writer because nobody talked about writing as a profession in those days. But now, I look back and think that it was certainly an outcome of my years of association with stories right from my childhood, and that wonderful realisation that this is something I want to do with my life,” she told the gathering.

With no scope for savings in journalism alone, she ventured into publishing after quitting full-time journalism in November 2013, with nothing in her pockets but dreams.

“I remember printing the first PenThrill book with financial contributions from loved ones, and even with nothing left for the second imprint during that point of time, I persisted,” Krocha said.

Although it will take time for people to start valuing books in Nagaland, she said that as a publisher, there is no dearth of stories in the state, which needs to be recorded. PenThrill has so far published 53 books in the past eight years.

On the occasion, ‘Archaeology of Mimi Caves’, a publication by the Department of Art & Culture, was also released by Kikon. The book ‘Archaeology of Mimi Caves’, Kiphire District, (Vol-1) was edited by archeology Professor Tiatoshi Jamir, Department of History & Archeology, NU, and Dr David Tetso, Department of Anthropology, Kohima Science College (Autonomous).

The book brings to the fore the first investigations on cave archeology in Northeast, India. Kikon shared that the work will go a long way in connecting the region with the archeological mysteries of its culture.  

Secretary, Art & Culture, Athel O. Lotha informed that the book exhibition and sale is an initiative taken by the Department of Art & Culture to promote local authors and publishers. Hundreds of books by local authors and publications are on sale during the two-day event.

Also read: Centre keen to develop north-east, tribal areas: Munda in Nagaland

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