New Delhi World Book Fair 2022 postponed amid COVID-19 restrictions

To contain the spread of COVID, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Tuesday had decided to impose a weekend curfew in the city

Press Trust of India January 06, 2022 20:12:20 IST
New Delhi World Book Fair 2022 postponed amid COVID-19 restrictions

Representational image. ANI

New Delhi: The 30th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF), which was scheduled to be held at Pragati Maidan from January 8 to 16, has been postponed in view of the latest DDMA guidelines imposed following the surge in Covid cases driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, said the organisers in a statement.

The fresh dates for the NDWBF, held online last year due to the Covid pandemic, will be announced separately, it said.

First organised in 1972, the NDWBF was planning to celebrate its golden jubilee with a photo exhibition this year.

"In view of the latest DDMA guidelines, and the requests made by various stakeholders, the NDWBF 2022 has been postponed. The fresh dates will be announced separately," said National Book Trust (NBT), the organiser of the event, in the statement.

To contain the spread of Covid, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Tuesday had decided to impose a weekend curfew in the city. The curfew will be in effect between 10 pm on Friday and 5 am on Monday.

The major publication houses like Penguin Random House India (PRHI) and Bloomsbury, which anyway were not participating in the upcoming book fair, have welcomed the decision of the organisers of postponing the book fair in the present scenario.

While Krishna Naroor, vice-president (sales and marketing), Bloomsbury India, said they could foresee the decision of postponement amid the present Covid situation; Nandan Jha, senior vice-president (sales and product), PRHI commended NBT's "timely and prudent" decision to postpone the event, keeping in mind the current developments.

"We had discussed in detail when the advertisement of participation in the fair came out last year and took a conscious decision of not participating as we were not sure how things are going to unfold amid this Covid situation," Naroor told PTI.

"The NDWF is a great opportunity for publishers to showcase their publications, and is a good time to interact with the customers in general ... so yes if it takes place three-four months down the line and we see a sense of normalcy coming back, we too might participate," he added.

That said, the announcement of postponement of the fair has come as a "bit of disappointment'' for several small publishing houses, like Garuda Prakashan, which had a host of book launches and over half-a-dozen author events planned for the fair.

"The postponement of the book fair has come to us as a bit of a disappointment, as things were looking better after a gap of more than a year. Such physical events always excite us and we had lined up several events with our authors during this fair. However, we have to take it in our stride, as, at the end of the day, the health of our readers and all those engaged in organising the fair is more important. We are hoping that, when things turn to normal, we will get back in a big way," said Ankur Pathak, director and COO of Garuda Prakashan.

The theme for this year's festival was 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', commemorating 75 years of Indian independence. A number of literary and cultural programmes, including a special children's corner, yuva corner, seminars, discussions, workshops, were organised with France as the guest country.

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