UK at the Kolkata International Book Fair 2015

UK is the focal theme at this year’s Kolkata Book Fair and want to showcase what the United Kingdom has to offer India and the rest of the world, in arts and culture, education, and research through the UK government’s GREAT campaign, which includes information on the huge range of scholarships available for studying in the UK. 

The fair will take place from 28 January to 8 February 2015 at the Milan Mela grounds in Kolkata. The Kolkata Literature Festival, which is a part of the fair, has been scheduled from 6-8 February 2015. 

The British Council and Wales Arts International will host ‘Walking Cities’, which pairs-up British and Indian writers enabling them to tour each other’s respective cities, providing an opportunity for the visiting poet to encounter the foreign city through the eyes of their local host. Welsh poets Joe Dunthorne and Jonathan Edwards will ‘walk the city’ with Indian poets Jeet Thayil and Tishani Doshi and share their experiences at the Kolkata Book Fair. 

Some well-known writers will be present at the Kolkata Book Fair. British author of Bangladeshi origin Zia Haider Rahman whose debut novel In The Light of What We Know (2014) was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, will deliver the Ashok Sarkar Memorial Lecture. Radio and television presenter Anita Anand, author of Sophia, Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary, will inaugurate the Fair. Her book is a biography of Sophia Duleep Singh, a princess-in-exile whose causes were the struggle for Indian independence, the welfare of Indian soldiers in the First World War and the fight for female suffrage. 

Other UK authors at the Kolkata Book Fair will be Shereen El Feki (author of Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World) novelist Will Buckingham, Scottish poet Bill Herbert, novelist Adam Foulds, among others. Professional storyteller Sarah Rundle will also perform at the Fair and Tracy Irish, the RSC's Education Programme Developer for the World Shakespeare Festival will be present too. 

The Book Fair will begin on a musical note with Ghazalaw, which celebrates the affinity between Indian Ghazal and the Welsh folk tradition. Mumbai singer Tauseef Akhtar and Welsh singer-songwriter Gwyneth Glyn weave the love poetry of their two ancient traditions together to the accompaniment of harp, tabla, guitar and harmonium. Ghazalaw are slated to perform at the Ghazal Bahaar festival in Mumbai on 31 January, after their show at the Kolkata Book Fair.

The programme is detailed below

Date Time Event
27 January 2015 16.00 to 17.00  Inauguration of the book fair 
  17.30 to 18.30  Performance by Ghazalaw at the Kolkata Book Fair
28 January 2015 15:00 onwards Anita Anand,  in conversation with Samita Sen, Vice-Chancellor, Diamond Harbour Women’s University
  18.00 onwards Shereen El Feki, author of Sex and the Citadel, in conversation with author-filmmaker Sangeeta Dutta
29 January 2015 17.00 onwards Author Zia Haider Rahman delivers the Ashok Sarkar Memorial Lecture.
31 January 2015 13.30 onwards Screening of The Auction House: A Tale of two Brothers
  16.00 onwards Author, Will Buckingham, in conversation with Souvik Mukherjee Assistant Prof, Presidency University.
1 February 2015 16.30 onwards Screening of The Auction House with an introduction by Ed Owles.
2 February 2015 14.00

Professor Vivienne Baumfield in conversation with Bharati Ray on“Vivekananda: Internationalism and the 21st Century.”

  16.30 onward Scottish poet Bill Herbert and Alexandra Buchler, Director Literature Across Frontiers, in conversation with writer Sampurna Chatterjee.
4 February 2015 16.00 onwards Interactive session on maths and numeracy between teachers from the UK and Association for Improvement of Mathematics Teaching, Kolkata.
  17.00 onwards Performance by professional storyteller Sarah Rundle on ‘The Art of Storytelling’.
5 February 2015 10.00 onwards Workshop by professional storyteller Sarah Rundle.
6 February 2015 15.30 UK storyteller Sarah Rundle in conversation with author Bani Basu. Moderated by Richa Wahi. 
7 February 2015 17.45 Tracy Irish,  in conversation with Abhijit Gupta, Professor of English, Jadavpur University, on “Shakespeare and Communication to Wider Audiences”.
  18.30 Walking Cities: Welsh poets Joe Dunthorne and Johnathan Edwards, poet-author Jeet Thayil and author Tishani Doshi. Moderator Anjum Katyal
8 February 2015 14.00 Authors Amit Chaudhuri and Adam Foulds in conversation. Moderated by Sujata Sen. 
  15.30 Launch of Inspired by My Museum by Adam Foulds and Jayanta Sengupta, Secretary and Curator, Victoria Memorial Hall.
  20.00 Closing concert by British musicians Soumik Datta and group

About the Book Fair

The Kolkata Book Fair, recognised by International Publishers Association, Geneva, is also the largest Book Fair of the world in terms of visitors. The 38th edition of the International Kolkata Book Fair was visited by 1.8 million booklovers over 12 days and books worth Rs 200 million were sold.

In 1998, UK was the Focal Theme Country of the Fair while Scotland was the Focal Theme in 2009.