Monday, October 31, 2011

Belgrade Book Fair 2011 spread over record eight days

Jumbo Editorial Team

The 56th edition of the International Belgrade Book Fair, which concluded on October 30, lasted a record number of eight days. Traditionally it used to be spread over seven days and a day was added to let the book lovers have more time to browse new publications and meet with local and foreign authors.

It is one of the oldest and most important literary events in the Balkan region. It consists primarily of the presentation of domestic and foreign book production and buying and selling of copyrights.

The publishers, booksellers, authors and many others avail the opportunity to make contacts, exchange experiences, do business and achieve cultural cooperation among other things.

The Belgrade Book Fair is reported to be the most visited cultural event in Serbia as people from different walks of life shuttle to find at one place rare or wanted books at special prices but also meet favuorite authors and discover the new ones, attending one of many programmes.

Taking place every autumn in the Balkan’s premier publishing and cultural capital, it is considered a unique opportunity to hear from authors, enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and explore innovations shaping the publishing world of the future.

The Guest of Honour for 2011 was the Portuguese language. In addition to an elaborate exhibition of books in Portuguese, visitors were presented a large number of literary works translated from this language especially for this occasion.

Moreover, many major contemporary authors from Portuguese-speaking countries turned up as the guests of this year's Belgrade Book Fair. In order to further motivate schoolchildren and their families, School Day and the Family Day were also reorganized.

Two musical scores were played at the opening ceremony-This from My Love and Lily Lalauna, composed by Rade Radivojević for the verses written by Ivo Andrić.

The opening ceremony was attended by the Minister of Culture Predrag Marković, former Minister of Culture Nebojša Bradić, City Secretary for Culture Ivana Avžner, the ambassadors of Lusophone countries with embassies and consulates in Belgrade (Angola, Brazil, and Portugal), as well as a large number of writers and other people from cultural circles.

Imran Khan’s Pakistan launched in Islamabad

Jumbo Editorial Team

A book titled ‘Pakistan’ on current and past events of the homeland authored by Imran Khan, a legendary cricketer-turned-politician, was launched in Islamabad on October 20.

Imran, Chairman, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was praised by all the distinguished speakers for his services in the field of cricket and community service in particular. He was also hailed as a principled politician.

Air Marshal (R) Asghar Khan was the chief guest on the occasion while former Senator and ex-Federal Information Minister, Mushahid Hussain Syed, and a number of other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Commenting on the narration and contents of the book, the speakers highlighted that Imran had tried to impart a lesson of hope to disappointed youth of the country.
Mushahid Hussain Syed observed that Imran Khan would bring political tsunami in the country by his daring and fearless leadership.

He said that incorrigible optimism was the main theme of the book, which meant for education of tolerance and patience to gloomy youth of the nation. He added that committed leadership like Imran Khan was need of the hour to drag the nation out of the crisis currently confronted by the country.

Addressing the ceremony, Imran said that youth of Pakistan was totally confused and disappointed due to dubious policies followed by different governments. He commented that there was total confusion in policies on terror war.

“Yes we are going through the worst time but it can become the best time as failures are the only way to get success,” Imran added.

“The problem with the Pakistanis is that they get demoralized after any breakdown. Instead they should analyze their failure and develop self belief to counter defeat,” he advised.

Imran disclosed said that he thought of writing a book after the tragic incident of 9/11 which ruined the lives of hundreds of Muslim families. “I do not consider my self as a scholar but after 9/11 incident there is a great confusion among the youngsters about modern and radical Islam,” he observed.

Sharjah International Book Fair from November 16

Jumbo Editorial Team

The Government of Sharjah has granted a total of $300,000 (Dh1.1 million) to the International Book Fair's translation centre during the upcoming book fair.

Speaking at a press conference on October 30, Ahmad Bin Rekadh Al Ameri, Director of Sharjah International Book Fair, pointed out that even though the translation centre is a key feature every year at the book fair, this year is different because in celebration of the 30th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair, books will be translated not only from Arabic into other languages but vice versa as well.

The Centre for Translation will serve as a platform to provide publishing houses with translation grants, networking and educational programmes.

The 30th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair is held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and will run from November 16 to 26.

The fair will also feature a "rights table" on November 14 and 15, where publishers and businesses can discuss proposed grants for rights sold during this event. The ten-day annual book fair is recognized as one of the most significant book fairs in the Middle East and the Arab world, as this year it draws 750 publishers, showcases books from 42 countries, and expects to attract more than 400,000 visitors from both trade and consumer markets.

"A total of 137 UAE publishing houses will participate at the book fair, and all Arab countries except for Libya will be participating," said Al Ameri, who added that the event will feature up to 260,000 titles in various languages.

More than 50 international publishers from more than 16 countries have confirmed their attendance. The programme will also be attended by Arab publishers from across the region keen to build their networks with international publishers. As part of this year's celebration, Saudi Arabia has been invited as the fair's Guest of Honour, and the cultural focus will be on India.

"There will be more than 20 top Indian publishers and there will be a showcase to highlight the presence of ten distinguished authors including Dr Shashi Tharoor, Shobhaa De and Chetan Bhagat,” Al Ameri said.

In addition, this year's book fair will offer a Live Cookery Show 2011 programme that comprises 32 recipes across the world. Some world-renowned authors participating include crime writer Peter James, New York Times best-selling novelist Kate Mosse, and award-winning historian George Goodwin.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chappell’s latest book also targets Tendulkar

Jumbo Editorial Team

If the bouncer from Shoaib Akhtar was not enough, Greg Chappell has come up with a nasty seaming delivery to target Sachin Tendulkar, considered the greatest batsman in the cricket history.

The Pakistan speedster in his recently launched autobiography ‘Controversially Yours’ had claimed that Tendulkar was scared of facing him while the prolific Australian batsman, who also coached India, in his new book "Fierce Focus", has observed that the Grand Master has occasionally been mentally fragile.

"At one point early in my time with the Indian team he came and talked to me for about two hours," Chappell observed in the book.

"He was frustrated with his form and racked with self-doubt. Since he'd come back in Malaysia (in a one-day tournament in 2006), Sachin's mental state had been surprisingly fragile and he came to me for help," Chappell wrote, apparently referring to a period when Tendulkar was struggling for form, besides also having surgery for tennis elbow.

Chappell, who was sacked a few months back as Australia's national selector apparently after a fall out with senior cricketers, suggested that Tendulkar could have been affected by the weight of expectations.

"When the team travelled, he would snap on his headphones, not look sideways, and shut it all out. Not even Don Bradman carried expectations like this, and Sachin had been bearing it since 1989," Chappell said in the book.

"He just couldn't get any rest. Once we were talking ... and I said, 'You must have so many friends, it must be hard finding time to keep in touch with all of them'. He looked me in the eye and said, 'Greg, you would have more friends in India than I've got'," Chappell said.

Chappell’s tenure as coach of the Indian team was replete with controversies and he was associated in the infamous war of words with Sourav Ganguly who was removed as captain rather unceremoniously.

Significance and role of libraries highlighted in DCL seminar

Jumbo Editorial Team

A seminar on “libraries are catalyst in empowering nations” was held at the auditorium of the Defence Central Library (DCL) on October 22 in which intellectuals and scholars highlighted the significance and role of libraries in creating a progressive, enlightened and civilized society.

The popular figure of Ghazi Salahuddin, the founding Editor of Daily The News International, pointed out that the libraries in general were enriched with treasure of knowledge and played a pivotal role in intellectual development of nations.

He lamented the intellectual crisis being faced by Pakistan as a nation. He expressed his concern with the declining trend of reading books and newspapers in society.

Ghazi Salauddin, whose name has become more familiar in the literary circles with the advent of a television programme on books which he has been doing for the past few years, reminded that reading enriches human experience, develops one’s vision personality and brings a transformation in life.

He opined that a lot was needed to be done to encourage people to read more and get them closer to books. He urged for the measures for arresting the decline in the readership among the masses.

Malahat Kaleem Sherwani, Chairperson, Library & Information Science Department, University of Karachi, reckoned that the development of library culture was essential for the awakening of the nation.

She mentioned that the importance of the libraries was universally accepted and the developed countries in particular laid great emphasis to it.

Iqbal Qureshi, Governor, Rotary District 3271, Sindh & Balochistan, believed that the libraries have greater importance in under-developed countries whose people are not as resourceful as those residing in the developed countries.

The issue of the rapid growth of electronic books and electronic libraries was also taken up during the interactive sessions and it was hoped that Pakistan would catch up with the rest of the world in this field too.

Low turnout mars DHA Central Library’s Book Fair once more

Jumbo Editorial Team

The three-day Book Fair organized at the Central Library DHA, formerly known as the Defence Central Library (DCL), failed to attract the area people despite the efforts of the organizers and the event managers.

Although it was supposed to be the showpiece event in the three days of literary, educational and cultural activities held at the DCL to celebrate 20th Anniversary of its foundation from October 20 to 22, there was very thin attendance at the Book Fair as in the past.

History repeated itself as the inauguration ceremony remained lively and colourful but the intensity and buzz disappeared with the departure of the chief guest.

Originally, Sindh Culture Minister, Sassi Palijo, was to do the honours but in her absence the President of the First Women Bank, Shafqat Sultana, formally inaugurated the Book Fair on October 20.

There were around 20 stalls that awaited book-lovers to visit them but the number of people present there could easily be counted on fingers. The collection of the books on display was pretty decent but the area people continued to abstain from taking the trouble of coming over to the DCL even to have a look at them.

There were books on the subject of literature, philosophy, religion, social sciences besides a big variety of children’s activity books at highly rebated prices but not many people cared to avail the opportunity.

One of the participating booksellers, having vast experience in book trade, didn’t express any surprises at the extremely low turnout on all three days.

“There’s no element of surprise in it. We have become used to it here. The general public in this part of the city doesn’t look interested in it. We have had similar attendance in the past at this venue. It, however, provides an opportunity to touch base with institutions who are potential customers,’ he explained.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mansha Yaad is no more

Jumbo Editorial Team

Noted short story writer and novelist, Muhammed Mansha Yaad, is no more. He died of heart ailments at the Islamic International Hospital in Islamabad on October 15 and was laid to rest at the H-8 Graveyard the following day. He was 74. Also a prominent playwright and critic, he has left behind three sons, one daughter and a widow.

A large number of people from all walks of life, including writers, poets, intellectuals, colleagues and friends participated in his funeral to pay their last homage to the great literary figure. His death was condoled by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Mansha Yaad was awarded the Pride of Performance in 2004 in recognition of his invaluable contribution to literature. He also received a PTV award for his drama serial Rahain in 1988 and Waris Shah literary award of the Pakistan Academy of Letters for his collection of Punjabi short stories, Wagda Pani.

His first short story was published in 1955, and short story collection Band Muthi Mein Jugnu in 1975. He was the author of nine books comprising eight short story collections in Urdu and one in Punjabi.

He was born in 1937 in Thatta Nastar village of Sheikhupura on September 5, 1937. His father, Haji Nazir Ahmed, was a farmer and hakeem.

He had started writing stories and poems for children magazines when he was only a student of class VII. He passed examinations of Fazil-i-Urdu in 1964, BA in 1965, MA (Urdu) in 1967 and MA (Punjabi) in 1972 from the University of Punjab as external student.

Mansha Yaad joined the Public Relations department of Capital Development Authority (CDA) in 1960. He’s credited to have founded quite a few literary organizations, including the Halqa Arbab-i-Zauq in Islamabad.

Frankfurt Book Fair 2011 records increase in visitors

Jumbo Editorial Team

The Frankfurt Book Fair 2011, held from October 12 to 16, recorded a slight increase in the number of visitors, with about one per cent more people coming to Frankfurt in 2011 than in 2010, according to the official figures.

With many exhibitors and visitors, not only from the book industry, but also other related industries such as film, games, and information and communications technology, the Frankfurt Book Fair continued to demonstrate that the sphere of interaction for members of the publishing industry has become significantly larger.

Many new areas of specialization, from digital publishing services and computer games production, to legal and financial consultants for cross-medial products, could be found at the Book Fair, spread between the different halls, professional areas and regional sections. In all, around 7,384 exhibitors from 106 countries were present, and the more than 3,200 events attracted approximately 280,194 visitors.

“This is now the time for start-ups, and the book industry is in a positive mood for renewal. An enormous diversity of ideas arises from the combination of enterprising spirit and technological opportunity. The international book and publishing industry has become a lot more multi-facetted,” Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair remarked.

The interest in international training and networking events grew perceptibly, such as those offered in collaboration with the Association of German Publishers and Booksellers, under the umbrella of the new conference brand, the Frankfurt Academy.

“The more globalised the books business becomes, the greater is everyone’s need to meet in person at least once a year and that, of course, in Frankfurt. Conversations about people and books are indispensable,” Professor Gottfried Honnefelder, President of the Association of German Publishers and Booksellers, stated.

“Those involved in the market are optimistic. We’re not only talking about the e-book business, we’re already taking action. The face of the Frankfurt Book Fair is one of self-assurance. The framework exists; now each publisher and each bookseller needs to find the right path for itself,” he added.

The Guest of Honour Iceland with its spectacular presentation in the Forum proved to be the absolute highlight for the visitors. With their exuberant will to tell stories and a superb balance of classical sagas and fast-paced, modern literature, and with their generous hospitality, the Icelanders managed to fire the imaginations of the reading public at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Iceland's literary heritage highlighted at Frankfurt Book Fair 2011

Jumbo Editorial Team

A literary tradition that was born about 900 years ago with the Sagas, which Icelandic children still read today, has evolved into a thriving modern-day appetite for crime fiction.

Publishers and authors at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which opened on October 12, and where Iceland has been guest of honour, say the strength of Icelandic literature belies its size of just 320,000 inhabitants.

"Our heritage is not of industry, or great architecture, or buildings or palaces. We have text, that's our heritage. When we look upon what we have done it's to the Sagas," Egill Orn Johannsson, Managing Director, Forlagid Publishers, remarked.

Widely seen as a gem in world literature, the Icelandic Sagas, which have been translated into English and German, describe events among the Norse and Celtic inhabitants of Iceland in the 10th and 11th centuries. Written between the 12th and 14th centuries, they focus on history, especially genealogical and family history, reflecting the settlers' struggles and conflicts.

Kristjan Jonasson of Crymogea Publishers observed that his great-grandfather used to relate the Sagas to him as a child but now children's adaptations are available while the Sagas are also taught in school.

“Today Icelandic literature can boast a host of crime writers, who over the last 15 years have placed it on the world map of police detective novels alongside their Swedish, Norwegian or Danish counterparts. With a relatively low crime rate, authors perhaps have little to draw on, but at the end of the 1990s Icelandic authors began to emulate the style of Scandinavian crime writers," Jonasson said.

"The slow-paced, realistic, dark and even pessimistic tone of the Nordic crime fitted very well to the way Icelandic writers simply had been dealing with reality before," he added.

One of those known internationally, Yrsa Sigurdadottir, said she wrote her books with an Icelandic audience in mind first, choosing stories that are not shown in the media about society.

"Icelandics are seen as good, innocent, non-violent and even docile people, but it makes the crime stories even more fun. It's like red blood on white snow, it 'looks better'," she said.

Friday, October 14, 2011

W H Smith joins hands with Kobo to launch e-book readers

Jumbo Editorial Team

W H Smith, the UK newsagent and bookseller, has announced to launch a range of e-book readers in partnership with Kobo, a Canadian company.

The move mimics the highly successful launch of the Kindle e-reader by online retailer Amazon, and a similar move by US book maker Barns and Noble, which launched its own Nook e-reader in 2009.

The Canadian company, Kobo, will supply the devices, the online book store and the e-books themselves. The devices will start at £89.99, while a touchscreen version, which W H Smith claims will be the first Wi-Fi enabled touchscreen e-reader available in the UK, will cost £109.99.

W H Smith also published preliminary financial results for the year which revealed a 3% drop in revenue to £1.3 billion. Book sales were down 4% year-on-year.

According to a recent report by Futuresource Consulting, the Western European e-book market grew 400% in 2010 to reach 10 million units, and is expected to reach 35 million units this year.

The UK dominates the European e-book market, it found, buying roughly half of all e-books sold in Europe, despite accounting for just 15% of overall book sales.

W H Smith will not only have Amazon's Kindle to compete with but also Google, which launched its own e-book store in the UK earlier this month. Google has its own challenges, though, primarily that its e-book store does not support the highly-popular Kindle devices.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Participation of schools adds value to Paramount’s annual book fair

Jumbo Editorial Team

The 23rd edition of the Paramount Book Fair was held at the premises of Paramount Publishing Enterprise, located in Block 2 of PECHS, Karachi, from October 1 to 9. As usual it attracted a large number of intellectuals, educationists, professionals, students and general readers.

Paramount Publishing Enterprise, founded in 1948, has been one of the biggest wholesale and retail distributors-cum-publishers in Pakistan. Headquartered in Karachi, they have branches in Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar.

The Paramount Book Fair, which has been held every year in the autumn months since its inception in 1988, is now billed as one of the top annual events of the industry in Pakistan. All roads of Karachi seem to be leading to Tariq Road and Khalid Bin Waleed Road in the evenings in particular when the bookworms brave traffic jams and many other hassles to reach the Fair to buy books of their choice at hugely discounted prices.

The most comprehensive selection of the finest books from world renowned publishing houses is generally found there on all conceivable subjects at inconceivable discounts. That’s the reason why there have been long queues in every single edition of the Paramount Book Fair for 23 years now.

One of the features of the latest edition of the Paramount Book Fair was the proactive participation of the schools as a large number of students and their teachers visited the various shelves in the otherwise relatively quiet morning sessions.

It’s a fantastic idea to engage the young students in book-related activities in order to develop reading habits. It’s very heartening to find even the tiny tots enjoying themselves in the arena and getting a feel of those colorful books.

The daily lucky draws provided another incentive to the children to get nearer to books. The draws took place in the evening and two children were randomly selected from those present to take out coupons from the drop box. The winners were contacted via telephone, if not present at the time of the announcement, to collect books the gift voucher for purchase of books worth Rs 5000.

Prominent educational institutions to have sent their students and staff to the Paramount Book Fair included Dawood Public School, Karachi Boys Academy, Nasra School, Happy Home School, Habib Grls School, Usman Public School, ASF College, The Karachi Academy, River Oaks Academy, Karachi Grammar School, St Michaels Convent School, Bahria College Karsaz, PECHS Girls School, Cambridge Public School, Generations School, Kingsley American School, Ladybird Grammar School, The City School, Meritorious Schools Network, Head Start, The Beginners, St. Lawrence Convent School, Shining Pearls Montessori School of Intelligences, Mama Parsi School, Islamic Public School, Springfield School, Metropolis Education System, The Anchorage School, Morning Glory Grammar School and Foundation Public School.

Dr Mohammad Ali Shah’s twin autobiographies launched with fanfare

Jumbo Editorial Team

The twin biographies of Dr Syed Mohammad Ali Shah, a renowned orthopedic surgeon and a sports celebrity, were launched at Karachi’s Hotel Pearl Continental on October 9 in the presence of more that 500 guests that included luminaries from the different walks of life.

The biography of Dr Shah, who has been the Sindh Minister of Sports since 2008, in English has been titled ‘Unfold the Legend" while its translation in Urdu has been named “Azeem Kamyabion Ka Safar.”

The voluminous hardbound biographies contain interesting and historical incidents about his distinguished career spread over three decades. There are numerous pictures complementing the text and the books have been printed on glazed paper.

A recipient of the coveted Presidential award three times for his meritorious services in the fields of medicine, sports and social sector, he has candidly shared his life experiences over the years. He has narrated the tales of his childhood, starting from Lucknow, India, where he was born.

An orthopedic surgeon by profession, Dr Muhammad Ali Shah, President, Sindh Olympic Association (SOA), has also been the President of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) besides being a member of the Governing Board of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

In his speech Dr Shah announced that the Sindhi edition of his biography will also be published soon and its launching ceremony will be held in Larkana.

“Although I was being approached to work on the idea of writing a biography around for the past one decade I finally made up my mind two years ago to do it. So it has taken me about a couple of years to turn this dream into reality and it has really been a tough task doing it,” Dr Shah observed.

Agha Siraj Khan Durrani, Sindh Minister for Local Bodies, who was the chief guest in the launching ceremony, showered Dr Shah with praise for his overwhelming contribution to the community.

Glowing tributes were paid to Dr Shah by all the other speakers as well and the list included Sindh Ministers, Abdul Rauf Siddiqui and Shoaib Bokhari, Sardar Jam Tamachi, S M Munir, Chisthty Mujahid, Munir Hussain, Islahuddin and Dr Faiz Mohammad Khan.