Colombo International book fair

The fifth Colombo International Book Fair will be held from September 15 to 21 at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre at BMICH. Fair times are 9.30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. There will be 200 stalls with 42 foreign publishers participating. The total number of stalls has been limited to 200 due to lack of space and many requests for stalls from local and foreign publishers had to be rejected.

The Chief Guest at the inauguration on 15 September at 9.30 is Shobhaa De, the internationally renowned author from India.

The widest range of books which had never been in Sri Lanka, mainly in English, Tamil and Sinhala will be displayed and sold at this yearís fair at special prices. Over 400 new books published in Sri Lanka will be launched during the fair this year.

"We expect around 100 visitors from Publishing Companies abroad. This would also provide an opportunity for foreign representatives to see our country," a spokesman for the organisers said.

The CIBF has annually recorded the highest public participation for any fair at BMICH with over 130,000 visitors in 2002. "This year we expect a number in excess of 150,000 and have extended the fair to seven days and also allocated more space between stalls". The organisers provide a free shuttle service between Town Hall and Borella and many other amenities to make visitors more comfortable.

The first book fair was held at the National Art Gallery in 1999 and the second in 2000 at the same venue.

Due to the limitation of space and facilities the 3rd fair in 2001 was shifted to the BMICH. That year the CIBF enjoyed the association of the first sponsors M/s. M. D. Gunasena & Co and had 100 stalls. Rupavahiniís Channel Eye and Upali Newspapers were the gracious media sponsors.

The BMICH joined in as co-organisers for the 4th fair in 2003 and M/s. Weerodara Stationery was the principal sponsor with Hatton National Bank as the official bank together with Rupavahini, SLBC and Upali Newspapers (Divaina and The Island) as media sponsors. In 2002 the stall count increased to 126 with 26 stalls taken by foreign publishers.