According to Bangla Academy, never has Ekushey Book Fair hosted a stall entirely dedicated to a foreign country
The Chinese embassy in Bangladesh, in collaboration with Bangla Academy and China Media Group, installed the pavilion of China Book House at the book fair, comprising two stalls.
According to Bangla Academy, never has Ekushey Book Fair hosted a stall entirely dedicated to a foreign country.
The decision was taken with the objective of enlightening visitors to the fair about the history, culture, society, heritage, business, and development activities of a foreign state. Moreover, China was given priority in this case because of its multifaceted links with Bangladesh.
Visitors of all ages, but mainly young ones, are thronging the pavilion to become acquainted with life in China by reading the books sold there.
Books written on China, authored by 40 writers, are currently being showcased at the pavilion.
Interestingly, six of the writers are Bangladeshis – all of whom wrote books on travelling. The rest of them based their books on travel stories, history and language, among other subjects.
Other than books, the stalls also showcase objects like stamps, postcards, showpieces, paperweights, and bookmarks with Chinese symbols printed on them.
Bibliophiles are certainly not missing the chance for a glimpse of the books. Many, especially those who have interests in travelling, have been buying the books to quench their thirst for travel literature.
Visiting the pavilion on Tuesday, Dhaka Tribune found that salespersons were busy catering to visitors and customers.
Aysha Akhter, a salesgirl at one of the stalls, said: “This (pavilion) is the Chinese government’s initiative to remove misconceptions we have about the country."
Aysha, who is an employed at a Dhaka-based Chinese firm LINKUS, said the stalls were getting a huge response at the fair.
“Other than books on the Chinese language and travelling, pop-up storybooks are in high demand,” she said, mentioning that discounts were being offered on some books.
The pavilion drew the attention of visitor Michael Ripon Biswas on Tuesday afternoon.
Ripon, a private job holder, said: "A book on sale enlightened me about opportunities and facilities being provided to Bangladeshi students at Chinese universities and colleges.
“I have traveled to 35 countries, including China, but found the latter’s people most hard-working and I have learned a lot from them,” added Ripon.
Meanwhile, some visitors turned up at the pavilion in search of books on the reported persecution of Uighurs in China.
The stall was also displaying leaflets about the Covid-19 virus.
When contacted, Zha Mingwei, third secretary at the cultural section of the Chinese embassy, said the pavilion would boost Bangladesh-China bilateral ties.
“Visiting the pavilion can help Bangladeshis get an overview of our nation, culture, and history. Our relations with Bangladesh are continuously getting better and we hope it becomes even more impressive in the days to come,” he said.
Dr Jalal Ahmed, Bangla Academy's director of Sales, Marketing and Reprinting Division and member secretary of Amar Ekushey Book Fair, said that at this year's book fair China Book House was selling its books as part of the organizers' plan, ahead of the Bangabandhu International Book Fair scheduled for October.
“This is a trial run to verify how locals react to foreign books at a book fair. Gradually, we’ll approach other countries to have them participate in the international book fair,” said Jalal.
Names of some of the books
Books written by Chinese authors in English include “Memories of Chinese Life” by Qian Yue and Chen Yu, “Contemporary China’s Culture” by Ouyang Xueme, “Road To Well-Off Society Economic Development” by Wang Danli, and “Speaking Chinese about China” by Rong Du and Helen T. Lin.
Among the six Bengali writers' books, “Adommo Deng” about Chinese politician Deng Xiaoping, and “Chawkbazar to China” by Santa Maria, among others, have been attracting visitors.