Sunday, December 30, 2012

Actor Manoj Bajpayee launches Shobhaa De’s Sethji

Pakistan News & Features Services

The celebrated Indian columnist and novelist Shobhaa De, known for her outspoken views, has come up with her 17th book titled ‘Sethji’ having been published by Penguin whose reading session was held recently at the Crossword Bookstores housed in Mumbai’s Mohammedbhai Mansion. 

Noted Bollywood actor, Manoj Bajpayee, did a reading from the book in a very impressive manner which earned him accolades even from the author. 

”What an outstanding professional! Every single person present at Crossword last evening went away singing the praises of Manoj Bajpayee. Here's one actor who could teach a thing or two to several of his contemporaries-acting skills, of course, and more importantly, just basic good manners. His reading from Sethji went off swimmingly well,” the versatile Shobhaa De acknowledged on her blog. 

“Author Namita Devidayal provided able support, as she stayed ‘in character' (Amrita's). Manoj spoke with transparent sincerity and responded to audience questions with candour and good humour. It was a terrific session,” she added. 

By her own admission, she had decided to skip the conventional book launch event, having done it numerous times in the past. Instead she did a digital launch of ‘Sethji’ before organizing the reading session. 

Before the publication of ‘Sethji’ her published titles were Shobhaa at Sixty, Sandhya`s Secret, Superstar India-From Incredible to Unstoppable, Strange Obsession, Snapshots, Spouse: The truth about marriage, Speedpost, Surviving Men, Selective Memory, Second Thoughts, Small Betrayals, Shooting from the hip, Sultry Days, Uncertain Liaisons, Sisters, Starry Nights and Socialite Evenings. 

Shobhaa De, born on January 7, 1948, made a name in modeling before taking up the profession of journalism in 1970. She is credited to have founded and edited three popular magazines, Stardust, Society, and Celebrity. 

She started contributing to The Times of India in the 1980s and mostly wrote on the lifestyles of the Mumbai celebrities. 

She has gone on become one of the most sought-after freelance writers and columnists, working for several newspapers and magazines. 

Shobhaa De has participated in several literary festivals, including the Karachi Literature Festival and the Writers' Festival in Melbourne.

E-book reading rises as print reading dips in USA

Pakistan News & Features Services

The common perception of the decline in reading the print editions of books, magazines and newspapers globally received strength from a recent survey conducted in the United States of America (USA). 

According to new survey findings by the Pew Research Center released on December 27, the percentage of adult Americans who read a book this fall has fallen to 75% from 78% a year ago. 

The survey of Americans age 16 and older discovered that 23% of people in the age bracket read e-books in the previous 12 months, up from 16% a year ago, while the percentage who read print books fell to 67% from 72%. 

The survey, from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, was conducted from October 15 to November 10 among 2,252 Americans 16 and up. 

The increase in e-book reading was fueled by higher ownership of digital reading devices, with the survey finding that 33% of Americans 16 and up had either a dedicated e-reader or a tablet, up from 18% in late 2011. 

The e-book usage among library patrons also rose in the last year, although it still remained at relatively low levels. 

Five percent of recent library users said they had borrowed an e-book in the past year, up from 3%; the percentage of library users who are aware that e-books are available at the library took a more significant upturn, rising to 31% from 24%.

Pearson, Nook Media excited with new partnership

Pakistan News & Features Services

Barnes & Noble (B & N) has announced an $89.5 million investment in its Nook Media subsidiary while also forecasting the holiday sales to fall below expectations. They also anticipated that the results in its Nook business will not meet forecasts for fiscal 2013. 

According to reports, Pearson’s investment will allow the company a 5% stake in Nook Media making them the third investor in the venture as B&N’s stake will slip to 78.2% and Microsoft’s stake will become 16.8%. 

Under the agreement, Pearson also received warrants to acquire another 5% of the company based on a valuation of $1.789 billion and subject to certain conditions. 

In a statement, B&N CEO, William Lynch, and Pearson North America Head, Will Ethridge, both expressed their excited about the partnership. In a regulatory filing, B&N said that with the agreement, Nook Media would begin distributing the content of Pearson, regarded as the world’s largest educational publishing company with substantial assets in both the higher education and el-hi markets. 

“With this investment we have entered into a commercial agreement with Nook Media that will allow our two companies to work closely together in order to create a more seamless and effective experience for students," Ethridge was quoted as saying. 

"It is another example of our strategy of making our content and services broadly available to students and faculty through a wide range of distribution partners," he added. 

B&N haven’t said much about the weaker than expected holiday sales. Thanksgiving weekend sales got off to a good start with unit sales of Nook devices double that of the previous year. Yet B&N was expecting a slight dip in sales in its trade stores.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

23rd Doha International Book Fair 2012 attracts bigger turnout

Pakistan News & Features Services

The 23rd Doha International Book Fair 2012 concluded on December 22, after having opened on December 12. As many as 425 publishing houses from 26 countries participated in the annual event. 

“The Doha International Book Fair has become an annual and important event in the Arab region,” Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, Chairman of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, remarked during a chat with the reporters on the sidelines of the closing ceremony. 

He also highlighted the significant role played by the Fair in educating the public and book lovers in the State of Qatar and beyond. 

"The exhibition offered a great opportunity for citizens and residents to take advantage of the latest intellectual productions on display,” he said while expressing his admiration with the large participation of Arab and foreign publishing houses. He touched upon the critical issue of the printed book facing significant challenges from the electronic book. 

“The increased purchasing power noticed at Doha Fairs each year indicated the tendency to read and learn and proved that the electronic book would not replace the printed book,” Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah believed. 

He pointed out that the book fair has witnessed a major turnout and participation of publishers from across the world and added that the event was growing each year. 

“I have learned that many of the international publishing houses were willing to participate this year but limited space prevented their participation,” he shared. 

The Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP) was recognized for instilling love and motivation for reading and writing at the event. The BQFP set up interactive morning events that were divided into two tracks, specifically catering to children and librarians at the Doha Exhibition Centre. 

In order to develop children’s interest in books, issues about local library culture were addressed at the morning workshops. 

The BQFP Educational Programmes Developer, Amira Abed organized the workshops that invited independent school librarians to build their skills. 

“A major part of our Reading and Writing Development Programme is mentoring librarians in the areas of library development, communication with children and recommending books to them,” he said. 

“We explore the use of storybooks in classrooms to develop children’s awareness and reading skills, and to acquire literary richness to improve their writing,” Abed added. 

The sessions were a sample of other informative workshops BQFP offer throughout the year with the book fair providing a special opportunity. 

Subsequently the BQFP and Maktaba Qatar collaborated on crafting special sessions for school children who were able to enjoy storybooks and get creative with writing activities. During the weekends, dual-language activity sessions led by Maktaba Qatar were also open to the public.

Glamorous Kareena Kapoor launches Richa Lakhera's book Garbage Beat

Pakistan News & Features Services

The presence of the glamorous Bollywood actress, Kareena Kapoor, mesmerized the audience in the launching ceremony of Richa Lakhera's book Garbage Beat in Bandra, Mumbai, on December 23. 

Kareena Kapoor, attired in a Shehla Khan Anarkali outfit, remained the focus of attention and her every move was captured by the media battery and her photographs and videos of the occasion started getting uploaded right away. 

The 32-year-old actress was noted for looking stately in the long sleeved pink dress, befitting her newly acquired status as Begum of Saif Ali Khan, the Nawab of Pataudi. 

Her ankle length embellished Georgette anarkali top featured a V neckline and she paired it with a matching silk churidaar and a flowing embroidered dupatta accented with gotta trim. 

She accessorized with golden Jimmy Choo heels and Aquamarine chandelier earrings and side swept hair with a single streak of red highlight was left down. 

Kareena Kapoor, who plays a journalist in Prakash Jha’s Satyagrah, was enthusiastic in taking questions from the reporters and replying them to their heart’s content. 

She explained that she really feels sad that today a star and a journalist aren’t linked the way they used to be before. 

“That’s because there are so many channels, magazines and tabloids covering celluloid. Today, anyone can be on the cover of any magazine,” she felt. 

Kareena Kapoor clarified having bonded with many journalists previously who were now writing reviews of her movies. 

“They would get into a conversation with a motive to get an interview but they would end up talking about everything. That would help them understand the real person I am and accordingly they would write the column,” she reckoned. 

Kareena Kapoor conceded that for her role in the film, she would derive inspirations from every reporter as she understood the nature of the job and how challenging it’ to get the desired answers. 

So awesome was her presence that the actual event, the launch of Richa Lakhera's book Garbage Beat got overshadowed with the media corps more interested in Kareena Kapoor than the party itself. 

Richa Lakhera's function as well as the book, however, received huge mention in the press with the photographs of Kareena Kapoor doing the talking.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Texan author Larry King is no more

Pakistan News & Features Services

Lawrence Leo King, more famous as Larry King, was a famed journalist, author, essayist and playwright. He expired at the age of 83 on December 21. According to reports he died after battling emphysema at Chevy Chase House, a retirement home in Washington where he had been living the past six months. 

He was born on January 1, 1929, in the town of Putnam in West Texas. He grew up mostly on a rural farm until his family moved to Midland, where he went to high school. 

His father, Clyde Clayton King, was a farmer and a blacksmith and the subject of ‘The Old Man’ known to be one of his son’s best-known essays.

Larry King had left the high school prior to graduation to join the Army just after World War II and served most of his stint in the New York area making training films. Upon return he got his first writing job at The Hobbs Daily Flare, a New Mexico newspaper, and later briefly attended Texas Technological College, now Texas Tech University, in Lubbock. 

In the mid-1950s he had moved to Washington as an aide to a Texas congressman, J T Rutherford. Later he joined the staff of another Texas representative, Jim Wright, the future speaker of the House. He left in 1964 to become a full-time writer. 

He was granted a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard for the 1969-70 academic year. He wrote about it for Harper’s in an essay called ‘Blowing My Mind at Harvard.’ 

‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ was made into a 1982 film starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton, and a sequel to the stage musical, ‘The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public’ appeared briefly on Broadway in 1994. 

His books included ‘None But a Blockhead’ about the act of writing, and a children's book called ‘Because of Lozo Brown’ about the fears children have of meeting others. Collections of his essays were also published, including ‘The Old Man and Lesser Mortals’ which began as an article about his father. He won an Emmy for his 1982 television documentary for CBS ‘The Best Little Statehouse in Texas’ while He taught at Princeton and was a fellow at Duke.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Spotlight on Japan in 23rd Doha International Book Fair 2012

Pakistan News & Features Services

The 23rd Doha International Book Fair 2012 opened at the Doha Exhibition Centre in Doha, Qatar, on December 12, featuring publishers from 27 countries including the US, Japan, France, Germany and Sweden. The event will continue until December 22. 

‘Global Thought Forum’ is the theme of the 11-day book fair being organised by the Qatari Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage with collaboration of the Department of Public Libraries. 

Japan is the ‘chief guest’ in the exhibition this year, which is participating with a special pavilion, with the support of the Japanese Embassy in Doha. 

The publishers from almost every Arab country are participating in the fair and the huge majority of the titles are in Arabic. The Qatar Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari opened the exhibition in the presence of senior officials from the Ministry and other departments and organisations. 

“The Doha international Book Fair is an extension of Sharjah international Book Fair (SIBF) and other book events in the GCC countries. Book fairs across the Arab world encourage reading habits, and help shape people's conscience, whereby offering an excellent opportunity to everyone to get first-hand acquaintance with the latest titles on the most pressing issues of the world,” the Minister noted. 

Several leading Qatari organisations and institutions have also set up stalls, including the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Qatar University, RAF, Supreme Council of Family Affairs, Family Consulting Center, National Human Rights Committee, besides several media outlets in Doha. 

A series of lectures on social, political and cultural issues as well as scientific and educational topics are being held on the sidelines of the exhibition. 

A delegation from the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), headed by Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Amri, Director of SIBF, along with Omran Al Qatari, Head of Procurement Section at the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, also participated in the 23rd edition of the Doha International Book Fair. 

The SIBF participation at Doha came in line with the directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, himself an avid reader, having made extraordinary efforts to inculcate the love of books among his people.

Amitabh Bachchan launches Ustad Amjad Ali Khan's book

Pakistan News & Features Services

The Bollywood legend, Amitabh Bachchan, launched music maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan's book ‘My Father, Our Fraternity: The Story of Hafiz Ali Khan and My World’ in Mumbai on December 14. 

The book launch ceremony, which caught the attention of the media, was also attended by Amitabh Bachchan’s son Abhishek Bachchan and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai, both of them the shining stars of the biggest movie industry in their own right. 

Quite a few other celebrities from the world of music and entertainment were in attendance in the programme which began with a minute's silence to mourn the demise of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. 

The book, published by Roli Books, is based on the sarod maestro's memories of his father Hafiz Khan, who passed away in 1972, and includes anecdotes and narrations from a diary which he used to write. 

It dwells on the life and times of his father, giving a glimpse of the 'guru-shishya parampara' (teacher-disciple tradition) in Indian classical music and also features some rare photographs dating back to 1930s. 

While lauding the maestro and his sons Amaan and Ayaaan for keeping the musical legacy going, he underlined how his family and the maestro’s shared a warm and close rapport. 

“What parents do for their children is beyond measure. So whatever a child does for his father can never be enough," Amitabh Bachchan said. 

Speaking of his father, Amjad Ali Khan said, "Music was his life. There are books available on other musicians, but nothing on my father, so I decided to write this book." 

"I am lucky I was born as his son. He was a great musician and also a very kind, compassionate man," the veteran musician said. 

Born on October 9, 1945, Amjad Ali Khan is an acclaimed classical musician who plays the saror. He was born into a musical family and has performed internationally since the 1960s. 

He was awarded India's second highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan in 2011. His family, which claims to have invented the sarod, is a part of the Bangash lineage and Amjad Ali Khan is in the sixth generation of musicians.

Iqbal Saleh Mohammad delighted with record sales in 8th Karachi International Book Fair 2012

Pakistan News & Features Services

Iqbal Saleh Mohammad, the doyen of the bookselling professionals in the country, has expressed his delight with the record sales witnessed in the eighth edition of the Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF), held at the Karachi Expo Centre from December 6 to 10, 2012. 

The owner of Paramount Books and Paramount Publishing Enterprise reckoned that the volume of sales in the KIBF 2012 was about 40 percent higher than any of the previous editions of the KIBF which was launched in 2012. 

Himself one of the founders of the KIBF, Iqbal Saleh, was particularly happy with the substantial increase in the demand for the children books. 

“It’s very gladdening indeed to note that greater number of books is being sold at the KIBF. These are healthy signs which augur well for the future,” the KIBF official remarked. 

He has remained vocal for the cause of the local publishing and bookselling industry, firmly believing that stronger measures should be taken to make it bigger. 

Iqbal Saleh, who has been driving force in motivating the local authors, hoped that the KIBF would be taking even greater care of them in future.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fiction legend Ishtiaq Ahmed cherishes KIBF experience

Pakistan News & Features Services

Ishtiaq Ahmed, a legendary suspense and fiction writer, expressed his delight at watching the huge turnout in the eighth edition of the Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF), held at the Karachi Expo Centre from December 6 to 10, 2012. 

“The book fairs play a crucial role in developing the habit of reading in our society. It’s a pleasant experience for me to watch a large number of people, belonging to all groups of ages, visiting the fair,” the noted writer who became a household name with the success of the Inspector Jamshed Series remarked during his visit to the KIBF 2012. 

“In my opinion easy access to internet and the latest forms of personal computers and electronic gadgets have supported the trend of book reading through wild spreading information about books and literature,” Ishtiaq Ahmed reckoned. 

“In the past the publication of a new book and information about literature used to remain confined to a particular circle but it’s a different scenario now with the advent of the internet and it has become easier for people to tell each other and discuss about books, literature and new developments,” he thought. 

“Such book fairs, however, are vitally important in further motivating the young generation to read more and more books. The presence of thousands of people here reflects their passion for reading,” he added. 

The Lahore-based Ishtiaq Ahmad has done wonders with his detective publications in Urdu language, having written 700 novels, reported to be the highest by any author in any language throughout the world. 

He has been extremely popular, particularly among the youth, since the 1970s. His Inspector Jamshed series, Inspector Kamran Mirza series and Shoki series were blockbusters. 

He has produced suspense thriller novels thick and fast. His books have appealed to the kids as well as the adults. He had become the most sought after author in the 1990s and nearly every book of his became a success story.

8th Karachi International Book Fair sustains traditional intensity despite heavy odds

Pakistan News & Features Services

The eighth edition of the Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF), held at the Karachi Expo Centre in the centrally located Gulshan-e-Iqbal, from December 6 to 10, 2012, succeeded in sustaining the traditional intensity despite the heaviest of odds. 

By turning up in large number on all five days, and evenings, the Karachiites proved once more how much they love to read books even in the age of information technology and internet. 

By purchasing a lot of books on the various subjects that were on offer on discounted prices, they dispelled the impression that the reading habits were on the decline in this part of the world. 

With the publishers of all kinds from different countries of the world in attendance, the bookworms of Karachi availed the opportunity by visiting the fair with their families whose enthusiasm gladdened the stall-holders, who generally kept the margin of profit minimal by offering generous discounts. 

Another heartening feature of the event was the growing ratio of the young visitors who spent a lot of time at the various stalls to have a good look at the huge number of titles on display before making their choice. 

The availability of so many interesting titles on nearly every topic under the sun and that too at heavy discounts brought more and more people to the fair. 

There were a large number students as well as professionals, besides the families, who turned up during the five days of intense activity at three halls of the Karachi Expo Centre. 

According to the organizers, about one million books were on display at 321 stalls, set up by mostly by the publishers in the KIBF 2012. 

They estimated 60,000 to 80,000 visitors on each of the four working days with more than 1.5 million people believed to have turned up on Sunday.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

8th Karachi International Book Fair 2012 gets underway

Pakistan News and Features Services

The 8th Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) 2012 has got underway at the Karachi Expo Centre on December 6. The event will continue for five days until its closure late in the evening on December 10. The entry for the visitors would remain free of cost and the timings would be 10 am to 9 pm. 

The Sindh Education Minister, Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq, was the chief guest in the inauguration ceremony with Dr Farooq Sattar, Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and a former Mayor of Karachi, was the guest of honour. 

More than three hundred stalls have been set up in the three vast halls of the huge complex which is wearing festive look and there has been brisk activity since morning despite the gas problems having choked the city traffic. 

As in the past, the KIBF 2012 is being organized by the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association (PPBA) with the collaboration of the National Book Foundation (NBF). The provincial Education Ministry has also extended its support to make the event a great success and dedicate to promote literacy in the country. 

Around 200 publishers and distributors, including foreign companies, have displayed their collection to attract the students, teachers, librarians, academicians, writers and institutional customers besides the general public. 

The organizers expect a record number of 300,000 people during the five-day event which, they reckon, presents considerable charm to the bookworms with the substantial discounts on offer at nearly every stall. 

Arrangements have also been made to facilitate book launching and book release ceremonies during the KIBF besides holding various contests like drawing, recitation, extempore speech, and quiz for kids in order to keep the audience entertained.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Social media at work to boost 8th Karachi International Book Fair 2012

Pakistan News & Features Services

Keeping pace with the times, the promoters of the 8th Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) 2012 have included social media in their plans to boost the annual event to be staged at the Karachi Expo Centre from December 6 to 10. 

They have got into email marketing of what has become the country’s largest book trade event being organized by the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association (PPBA), with the collaboration of the National Book Foundation (NBF) with Event and Conference International (Pvt.) Ltd being the event managers. 

A page of the event is also visible on while the participants themselves are also mobilizing their digital acumen to attract more customers to their stalls in the upcoming KIBF acclaimed as the premier book trade event of Pakistan. 

The KIBF Organizing Committee has been conducting their meetings more frequently at their Secretariat located in Mohammad Ali Cooperative Housing Society as the event draws closer. 

Their office-bearers are confident of overcoming the various obstacles and they are optimistic about very high, if not record, turnout of the visitors in the five-day event.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s produces inspirational autobiography

Pakistan News & Features Services

Australia’s mining billionaire Gina Rinehart, one of the world's wealthiest people, followed her illustrious father's footsteps on a second front with the launch a book of political essays titled ‘Northern Australia, and Then Some-Changes We Need to Make Our Country Rich’ on November 22. The launch events were held in Sydney and Brisbane besides Perth. 

The date was significant for the Rinehart family as it coincided with the 60th anniversary of Lang Hancock's flight over the Pilbara, when the prospector discovered some of the iron ore deposits that form the basis of the family's vast wealth. 

For hours at the book launch, giant movie screens rained down recurring grainy images of a younger Rinehart courting politicians and business people in 1979 aboard a chartered Qantas 747 dubbed Wake up Australia. 

The 58-year-old widow with a fortune estimated by Forbes at US$18 billion ($22 billion) preferred to play it safe at the launch where she was surrounded herself with hundreds of supporters mostly from the mining fraternity, where she is revered for transforming her late father's debt-ridden iron ore business into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. 

A long queue of people stood just to get hold of at least one book to have it signed by the author, the wealthiest woman in the world, and Australia's most successful entrepreneur. 

Her book ‘Northern Australia, and Then Some-Changes We Need to Make Our Country Rich’ is a collection of essays, speeches, and poems, calls on politicians, environmentalists and the public to support Australia's miners, the nation's main growth engine, or face the consequences of economic decline. It is spread over 220 pages. 

Rinehart's poetry in the book reinforces the message, in one verse she wrote: "Through such unfortunate ignorance, too much abuse is hurled. Against miners, workers and related industries who strive to build the world." 

 "We don't want to see Australia continue on a course with too many heads buried in the sand, critical investors discouraged by bad policies, or even hated, with too few understanding the problems while Australia moves towards being another Greece, Spain or Portugal,” she concluded.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Miami Book Fair International 2012 proves another success story

Pakistan News & Features Services

The Miami Book Fair International 2012 turned out be yet another success story, proving the point that even in today's technological society, readers love books.

Thousands of people of different age groups attended the eight-day literary party held from November 11 to 18, concluding with a street fair from November 16 to 18. 

The weather was ideal for strolling among the vendors, meeting local and international authors and attending classroom sessions with the famous writers as well as those aiming to make it big. 

There was an expansive children's programme, music, food and entertainment that continued to draw return visitors each year. 

The 29th edition of Miami Book Fair International opened on November 11 with the popular series, featuring six nights of readings and discussions with noted authors from the United States and around the world.

The Street Fair commenced on November 16 whose highlight was the Festival of Authors, with more than 350 authors reading and discussing their work, including the Latin American and Spanish authors. 

During the Street Fair weekend, more than 250 publishers and booksellers exhibited and sold books, with special features like the antiquarians, showcasing signed first editions, original manuscripts and other collectibles. 

The first Miami Book Fair International, founded by Miami Dade College and community partners, had taken place in 1984. Since then it has been recognized as the nation’s finest literary festival.

In 2001, the Fair became part of The Center for Literature and Theatre at Miami Dade College, a cultural and academic initiative that promotes the advancement and appreciation of literature throughout the year. 

The two-day street fair grew steadily each year and by the 1990s, the renamed Miami Book Fair International had become the largest literary festival in the country. 

The eight-day book party draws hundreds of thousands of book lovers to downtown Miami each November for a festival of all things read and written. 

Among the noted authors at early Book Fairs were Mario Vargas Llosa, Garrison Keillor and Allen Ginsberg, Hunter S Thompson, John Updike, Isabel Allende, Tom Wolfe and Alice Walker.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chess Grand Master Levon Aronian’s biography launched in Armenia

Pakistan News & Features Services

The Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, graced the launching of the book dedicated to the life and activities of the triple champion of Chess Olympiads, Armenia's chess team member and International Grandmaster Levon Aronian, on November 23. 

According to the reports, the book has been authored by the mother of the chess player, Seda Aronova on the eve of Aronian’s 30th birthday. 

The Armenian Grandmaster is flying high these days having received ‘Person of the Year’ award instituted by De Facto magazine. 

The Executive Director of the magazine, Menua Harutyunyan noted that the chess player always emerges victorious in international tournaments, bringing fame to his country. 

“I’m glad to know Levon Aronian, who is an embodiment of decency. He has scored numerous wins this year and deserves the award,” the De Facto official was quoted as saying. 

“I’m happy for the award. There are still a number of other tournaments I’m going to participate by the end of the year and hope to justify expectations,” Aronian remarked in the award ceremony. 

“I’m very grateful. This is a great honor for me. As sportsmen, we are more used to receiving awards after victories,” the Armenian Grand Master added. 

Levon Aronian was born on October 6, 1982. On the May 2012 FIDE list, he had an Elo rating of 2825, making him number two in the world and third highest of all time. 

He had broken the 2800 rating barrier in the November 2010 FIDE world ranking with a rating of 2801, becoming only the sixth player to cross the 2800 rating mark with Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Veselin Topalov, and Magnus Carlsen being the others having achieved the feat.

He won the Chess World Cup 2005 while he led the Armenian national team to the Gold medals in the 2006 (Turin), 2008 (Dresden) and 2012 (Istanbul) Chess Olympics and at the World Team Chess Championship in Ningbo 2011. 

Aronian was declared the best sportsman of Armenia in 2005 and was awarded the title of ‘Honoured Master of Sport of the Republic of Armenia’ in 2009 having represented the country in the Chess Olympiads of 1996, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Record participation in Sharjah International Book Fair 2012

Pakistan News & Features Services

The 31st Sharjah International Book Fair 2012, held at the Sharjah Expo Centre from November 7 to 17, created many new records. More than 600,000 visitors were reported to have turned up in the 11-day event and out of them 80,000 were students. 

The record-breaking feat was achieved both in the number of visitors as well as international participation with 924 publishing houses from 62 countries displaying over 1.5 million titles across various stalls and pavilions. 

As many as 90 book signing sessions were also organized during the course of the SIBF 2012 which contributed significantly in making the event a very successful one. 

The SIBF 2012 also witnessed numerous seminars, lectures and interactive activities being held under cultural, cookery, and children’s programmes that provided interactive sidelights to the main event. 

The cultural programme, which included discussions and lectures by famous authors and scholars, highlighted topics in the areas of politics, philosophy, history, art, music, and literature. 

The children’s programme also turned out to be a success story with the active participation of the students having converged from over 150 schools from across the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

The School children were provided the opportunity to enjoy and participate in over 200 activities combining culture, knowledge and entertainment. 

Several workshops on art, besides story-telling sessions, magic tricks, and creative activities also played a major role in the event’s success. 

The cookery programme also drew large crowds with multi-cultural offerings, recipes, and live demonstrations. It hosted several famous chefs from around the world including Mridula Balijekar from Britain, Manal Al Alem who specialises in Arabic cuisine, and free-lance chef Gerard Baker. 

The cooking demonstrations turned out to be extremely popular with the families who gathered to watch several chefs prepare their favourite dishes and sharing their cooking secrets.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shaikha Budoor aims further growth of publishing industry in UAE

Pakistan News & Features Services

Shaikha Budoor Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA), who also heads the country’s Knowledge Without Borders project, remains extremely confident about accomplishing her cherished goals. 

In a newspaper interview on the sidelines of the 31st Sharjah International Book Fair 2012, held at the Sharjah Expo Centre from November 7 to 17, she described achieving a knowledge-based economy as a part of the UAE’s ‘Vision 2021’ as one of four targets for the development of the country. 

She spoke about the vision of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a knowledge-based economy, the growing book market, and the need to focus on the youth in her country where the growth of the publishing industry has been phenomenal. 

“The UAE is a country that not only dreams big, but has had an astounding track record for turning those dreams into reality as anyone who has ever stood on the observation deck of the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa can tell you,” she observed. 

“The overall market worth of the Emirates’ publishing sector is currently estimated to be in the region of $260 million (Dh955 million) and large numbers of the world’s major international bookstores, for instance Borders, Virgin, and Kinokuniya, can be found throughout the country,” 

Shaikha Budoor pointed out. “Several literary festivals and fairs such as the Sharjah International Book Fair, the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, and the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature have also taken place across the country throughout the year making their mark on the international circuit,” she added.
Sharjah’s Knowledge Without Borders project, headed by Shaikha Budoor, has also witnessed the organisation reaching a milestone of bringing around 500,000 books to 10,000 families and is looking forward to achieving the ultimate goal of touching the lives of 42,000 families in Sharjah. 

“My personal journey into publishing began with children’s books when, in 2007, I began searching for good quality Arabic books for my daughter who was then four,” she recalled. 

Shaikha Budoor highlighted that it’s the wealth of well-educated and reasonably affluent readers, along with the UAE’s strategic location and established regional shipping nexus which plays an important role in promoting growth within the publishing sector. 

“With all of these factors in play, the UAE has significant potential to become a hub for international leaders in publishing and distribution for the entire Middle East region, as well as a gateway between Europe, the Arab world, and South Asia,” reckoned, adding that in order to create a ‘knowledge based society,’ an important area of focus is the country’s youth. 

Shaikha Budoor has also played a role in the establishment of the Emirates’ national chapter of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) which aims to act as a bridge between all of the stakeholders in the arena of children’s books.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Focus on youth literature in Istanbul Book Fair

Pakistan News & Features Services

‘My Childhood is my Homeland-Children’s and Youth Literature’ is the theme of the 31st International Istanbul Book Fair 2012, being organized by the TÜYAP Fair and Exhibition Organization at the TÜYAP Fair and Convention Centre in Büyükçekmece from November 17 to 25. The fair will host a series of distinguished writers and illustrators within the theme. 

Gülten Dayıoğlu, a Turkish children and youth literature author, has been chosen as the fair’s Honorary Writer, while the Country of Honour is the Netherlands. 

The fair will host more than 600 domestic and foreign publishers, non-governmental organizations, and copyright agencies. A workshop titled ‘digital publishing’ will be opened for the first time in the fair’s history. 

”In European book fairs, the themes are generally issues such as women rights, nature, and environmental concerns. They left behind the issues we are currently discussing in Turkey. They do not need to talk about the subjects like human rights anymore, since these rights are already guaranteed,” Deniz Kavukçuoğlu, Culture Fairs General Coordinator, TÜYAP, was quoted as saying. 

‘We want to follow the latest developments. The European fairs that we admired in the past now stay behind our book fair. They are organized in smaller areas and their numbers of visitors are less than ours. Recently, we went to the Barcelona Book Fair and it could be only compared to the Diyarbakır Book Fair in terms of its scale,” he pointed out. 

Kavukçuoğlu also mentioned about the demand for the Turkish literature abroad. 

“In the past you would never see a Turkish author on bookshelves abroad but now there are works by Orhan Pamuk, Elif Şafak and Yaşar Kemal,” he observed. 

The TÜYAP official noted that there was a great increase in number and variety of the books published in Turkey when compared to the past, adding that Turkey comes in the second place after France in this regard.

Urdu books dominate Pakistan Pavilion in Sharjah International Book Fair 2012

Pakistan News & Features Services

The Pakistan Pavilion at the 31st Sharjah International Book Fair 2012 (SIBF), set up by a private company, is reported to have displayed more than 8,000 titles the majority of which were in Urdu language. 

“The Pakistani Pavilion is a chance to grab many popular Urdu books, there’s not that many of them in the United Arab Emirates UAE. The pavilion has lots of English titles as well, the pictorial books are doing great,” one of the organizers of the pavilion was quoted as saying. 

“There’s a full variety of Pakistan-published books here politics, fiction, children’s, poetry, religion, newspapers, magazines. You name it, we’ve got it. Outside the book fair, you won’t find this much of a selection,” he added. 

He estimated there were more than 50,000 individual copies at the pavilion, being offered at special fair prices. The SIBF 2012, held at the famous Sharjah Expo Centre, featured 385,000 titles from more than 920 publishers, with over 60 countries participating with an awesome variety of categories and languages there. 

Pakistan was chosen the Country of Focus during the SIBF, which was inaugurated on November 7. 

But the decision seems to have been taken belatedly or it was communicated at an advanced stage, which deprived the Pakistan publishing industry the chance of making a big statement. 

Although 22 Pakistani publishers did take part in the SIBF 2012, which was higher than an average of four or five in the earlier years, the participation could have been greater if the management of the Fair made the announcement publicly many months before the event. 

It was a bit surprising than an organization like the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), having grown in stature over the years, didn’t formally announce the declaration of Pakistan as the Country of Focus.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Supermodel Kate Moss launches autobiography in glamorous style

Pakistan News & Features Services

Supermodel Kate Moss launched her autobiography in a glamorous style reminding many of her rock 'n' roll days at the Marc Jacobs shop Bookmarc in London on November 16. 

Unlike a typical book launch where the author gives a good talk to the sitting audience, Moss celebrated the occasion in her own way, not bothering for any grand intellectual address as she charmed her admirers and fans by mingling with them soon upon her arrival. 

Her new book is a collection of her most famous modelling shots. She looked spectacular in the event wearing a beautiful floor length gold dress which moved even the A-list celebrity crowd. 

The 38-year-old supermodel was noted for her best behaviour as she hosted her own book launch party for her autobiography. 

She got all glitzed and glammed up as she took the helm at her own book party leaving the bash in one of Marc Jacobs Spring 2013 dresses. 

Wearing the form-fitting white leopard print mid-length dress with a low hemline and high neckline, Kate looked elegant and on trend as she teamed the silk ombre number, costing £1,500, with simple black stilettos as she was spotted exiting the new Mayfair store. 

Kate set out to make jaws drop as she changed into the plunging golden Egyptian-esque dress which boasted a pleated detail and mesh panels around the seams. 

The dress also featured a knotted detail with tassels draping around the front as Kate accessorised with a gold cuff and a small black shoulder bag when she arrived at 50 St James. 

Her hair was worn in her usual bed-hair waves as she donned a heavier dark smoky eye make-up with highlighted cheeks and she looked excited by the turnout who came to support the iconic supermodel including Florence Welch and Stella McCartney. 

Noel Gallagher and Bob Geldof were also in attendance and were spotted conversing with each other, as well as Nick Grimshaw, Jo Wood and Boy George.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi steals limelight in Sharjah International Book Fair

Pakistan News & Features Services

Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi, one of Pakistan’s top writers and columnists, charmed the audience in his typical style during his presentation at the 31st Sharjah International Book Fair 2012 on November 13. 

Having tremendous fan following in Pakistan as well as outside of the country, he has carved a niche for himself with his satirical style of taking aim at the controversial issues and describing them in his unique tone. 

“I’ve got death threats from people in power and members of the public in Pakistan. I always respond in the same way,” Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi, who also served as the country’s Ambassador to Norway and Thailand, was quoted as saying. 

The 31st Sharjah International Book Fair 2012, in which Pakistan has been chosen as the country of focus, was inaugurated by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, at the Sharjah Expo Centre on November 7. 

The book fair, acclaimed to be one the biggest in the world, features 385,000 titles from more than 920 publishers from over 60 countries. It will continue until November 17. 

“Despite the participation of hundreds of publishers and hundreds of thousands of valuable books in our fair this year, we should not ignore some of the challenges faced by the book and written material in general in these times,” Dr Shaikh Sultan observed during his speech at the opening ceremony while referring to the growing trend of social media and digital publishing in the fast-changing world. 

“We believe that each has his own role and scope, and all of us as authors, publishers and intellectuals have to think of the best ways to maintain the balance of these roles and implement them quickly,” he added. 

“We believe that the publishing houses in the UAE and our region should keep up with this new revolution and innovate attractive ways to display ‘paper’ books and ‘digital’ books to encourage readers to buy books and read them in whichever way they prefer,” Dr Shaikh Sultan remarked. 

He honoured winners in the awards ceremony that followed the formal inauguration. The awards included the Etislat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, Cultural Personality of the Year, Best Local Publishing House Award, Best Emirati Author, Best UAE Printed Book about the UAE, among others.