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France to be Guest of Honour at 31st New Delhi World Book Fair

After serving as the Country of Honour at the Festival du Livre de Paris in France in April 2022, France will now serve as the Guest of Honor at the New Delhi World Book Fair, which will open its doors on February 25, 2023 at Pragati Maidan.

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The reciprocal invitation was decided between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Emmanuel Macron.

The 31st edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF), held for the past 50 years, is a major calendar event in the publishing world. NDWBF 2023 is scheduled from 25 February to 5 March 2023 in newly constructed Halls 2-5 GF at the centrally located Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The Fair is organized by the National Book Trust, India, an autonomous organization of the Government of India under the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the India Trade Promotion Organization.

India’s participation in the Festival du Livre Paris came alive in April 2022 with a line-up comprising many Indian publishers and some of the most innovative Indian authors available in French translation.

French audiences got the chance to meet star authors like Vikas Swarup, Perumal Murugan, Ajay Chowdhury, and Anuradha Roy.

Classical Indian texts were also given prominence through a special series brought out by French Publisher Les Belles Lettres with the release of a special series of 10 Indian classical texts illustrated by contemporary Indian artists.

This year, France will be present as Guest of Honour at the New Delhi World Book Fair from 25th February to 5th March at Pragati Maidan.

Visitors to the book fair will have a chance to meet a delegation of sixteen authors from France, including the 2022 Nobel Laureate for Literature Annie Ernaux.

At 82 years of age, this will be her first visit to India.

She will give a special lecture at Pragati Maidan on February 25th following the opening, and a conference at the Shri Ram Centre on February 26th.

All translated into English, her books are widely available at their Indian pricing in all major bookshops in Delhi.

The delegation of authors coming from France comprises some of the most popular contemporary writers across literary genres, including adult fiction, non-fiction, young adult fiction, children’s books and graphic novels.

There is a special focus on these two latter genres, which are increasingly popular among Indian readers, as evidenced by the success of the French graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi in India.

In addition, a dozen French publishers will meet their Indian counterparts to learn about the Indian publishing markets and exchange rights between the two countries.

Representatives from the French publishing industry bureau (Bureau international de l’edition francaise and Syndicat national de l’edition), the Institut francais en Inde, and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also be present.

Speaking ahead of the event, the Ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain, said: “France and India are two great nations of literature, and we believe in forging closer links between our authors, publishers and readers. France’s participation as the Guest of Honour of the New Delhi World Book Fair will be an opportunity to provide direct access to some of the best and most diverse French literary works. We also want it to be an enjoyable French experience for all participants! That’s why the French Pavilion has been designed by French graphic novelist Simon Lamouret to resemble a French bookstore with a cafe inside. France has one of the densest networks of independent bookstores, and a long tradition of cafes being a meeting point for writers and intellectuals. This is the ambience we wanted to recreate.”

Besides their participation in round-tables and special events at the book fair, the French authors will give lectures and workshops in major universities, bookstores, and other cultural institutions such as the Alliance francaise de Delhi.

After their visit to Delhi, each one of them will visit other Indian cities, with the support of the Alliance francaise network present in 15 cities across the country. A way to discover the rich and diverse literary traditions of India!

NDWBF offers exhibitors a unique opportunity for business in this growing book industry. It is also an ideal venue for promoting titles, co-publication arrangements and trade.

Besides the many literary and publishing conferences and programmes that are organized during the Fair, it also opens up a gateway to the publishing and intellectual world of South Asia.

The Fair attracts participation from major publishing houses across the globe. In 2021, the Fair was organized virtually and the platform had more than 2.8 million hits, visitors from 70 countries across the world, 150 Indian Exhibitors and about 15 Foreign Exhibitors.


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