Pakistan will mark its first-ever National Book Day on April 22. To commemorate the occasion, a four-day celebration featuring a host of colourful and knowledge-oriented activities will begin on April 23 at the Pak-China Friendship Centre in Islamabad.
Booksellers, publishing houses, literary and cultural bodies from all over Pakistan will participate in the festival, according to the National Book Foundation (NBF).
The day will start with the hoisting of a book flag, reading of a book anthem, and a book march by children. This will be followed by an oath-taking in which book ambassadors, representatives of the literary societies, students and teachers will vow to promote the reading habit, said NBF Managing Director Mazharul Islam.
Book ambassadors’ conference
The opening day will feature a book ambassadors’ conference at 2pm. They will discuss the reasons of decline in reading habits and try and come up with ways to promote reading culture and to make books available at affordable prices.
“[The day has] been long-cherished dream of the National Book Foundation,” said Islam.
He added, “We want to urge people to realise the importance of book-reading, and assist parents, teachers and librarians by introducing effective techniques that will promote reading among children and youth.”
The conference will provide a forum for people to gain exposure to international literature, and for the writers and publishers to sell
their copyrights abroad and to learn about the copyright law, Islam said.
Book reading and signing
The opening day will also feature prominent literary personalities, intellectuals, writers and celebrities from showbiz including Intizar Hussain, Ataul Haq Qasmi, Prof Fateh Malik, Mustansar Hussain Tarar, Reema Khan, Mahmood Shaam, Munno Bhai, Qavi Khan, Asad Khan, Talat Hussain, Iftikhar Arif, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Sadia Imam, Agha Nasir, Shabnam Shakil, Masood Ashar, Shahzad Ahmad, Raees Fatima Afridi, Ghazi Salahuddin, Nargis Sethi, Shabana Arif, Altaf Hussain Asad, Tasueef Tabbasum and Zahida Hina. A book signing ceremony will be held in which renowned writers and poets will sign their books, which will be available at the bookstalls to buy.
A coffee library, based on coffee and tea houses around the world that help develop the reading culture, will be set up to promote reading.
At the end of the festival, a cash award will be given to the best under-15 bibliophile.
Conference of librarians
A conference of librarians will also be held to provide opportunities for sharing and discussion of the current status, trends, research, directions, issues and challenges on the role of information in developing a learning society.
The National Library will set up a library at the venue and will offer on-spot membership.
The bookbinding process
A main attraction will be a practical demonstration of various steps that go into the development of book, from writing to binding.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2012.