The Amar Ekushey Boi Mela has an emotional and cultural attachment to the people of Bangladesh. This year’s edition of the fair, the largest of its kind in Bangladesh, concluded on Saturday drawing a huge crowd throughout February and seeing a record number of books launched.
Of the 4,919 books published this year, 1,585 were poetry, the Bangla Academy said.
Others include 731 novels, 644 story-books, 271 essays, 203 children books, 152 Liberation War-themed books, 149 biographical-autobiographical books, 144 books on Bangabandhu, 112 research-related publications, 111 books on rhymes, 96 books on history, 83 science-related books, 82 books based on travelling, 67 detective and science fictions, 56 translations, 40 books on comedy, 36 books on medicine and medical science, 34 books on drama and dramatics, 20 religious books, 14 dictionaries, 13 political books, 8 series of essays and 268 other books have been published throughout the fair.
According to book-selling e-commerce site Rokomari.com, writer Arif Azad was this year’s best-seller writer. Freelance Nasim stood as the second best-seller and young literateur Sadat Hossain ranked third.
Apart from them, eminent writers such as Dr Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, Farid Ahmed, social influencers such as Ayman Sadiq, Sadman Sadiq, Sakib Bin Rashid, poet Marjuk Rasel, YouTuber Salman Muktadir and others had been ranked as the frontrunners throughout the fair for their books.
However, readers and scholars have questioned the quality of many books.
A common tendency of the writers was noticeable - the rush for publishing and bringing the books out specifically for the fair. Many fans welcomed the new flow of writers and books coming out of this process, while some questioned the necessity of the rush.
This year’s fair was dedicated to Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Several seminars were held at the main stage of the fair venue at 4pm every day from February 3 to 29 followed by cultural events. Many of the discussions were featured on Bangabandhu and books written on his life and works.
Like the previous years, the venue this year was extended to nearby Suhrawardy Udyan. With the land earmarked for the fair expanded to 8,00,000 sq ft. A total of 873 units were allocated to the 560 organisations.
The authorities have allotted 179 units at the Bangla Academy ground to 126 organisatons and 694 at the Suhrawardy Udyan to 694 organisations.
First extended to Suhrawardy Udyan in 2013 to accommodate more participants, this year the fairgoers had a crazy rush at the ground since the academy premise was mostly used for a variety of arrangements.
The duration of the fair this year was short even after being organised during a leap-year. Also, due to the DNCC-DSCC election on February 1 as well as Bangla Academy’s renewed calendar-suggested same day celebrations of Valentine’s Day and Pahela Falgun, some of the sellers expressed dissatisfaction.