Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday inaugurated the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2020, a yearly event of booklovers and publishers.
The fair began on the Bangla Academy premises and at its adjoining Suhrawardy Udyan in the city.
This year's book fair has been dedicated to greatest Bengali of all-time and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the occasion of Mujib Borsho (Mujib Year).
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also distributed the Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar-2019 (Bangla Academy Literature Award) at the opening ceremony.
The award recipients are former Home Minister Rafiqul Islam (Literature on Liberation War), Makid Haider (Poetry), Wasi Ahmed (Literature), Swarochish Sarkar (Essay/Research), Khairul Alam Sabuj (Translation), Rahim Shah (Children's Literature), Ratan Siddiqui (Drama), Nadira Majumder (Science Fiction), Faruk Moinuddin (Autobiography/Travelogue) and Simon Zakaria (Folklore).
Each winner received a cheque for Tk 3 lakh and crests.
Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar is given by the Bangla Academy of Bangladesh in recognition of creative genius in advancement and overall contribution to the field of Bengali language and literature.
Sheikh Hasina also unveiled a book titled 'Amar Dekha Noya Chin' written by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which is the most attractive book among 100 new books to be published on Bangabandhu's life and works on his birth centenary.
The Bangla Academy has started publishing the 100 new books in phases in the Mujib Year.
Presided over by Bangla Academy President National Professor Anisuzzaman, the inaugural function was also addressed by State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, Cultural Affairs Secretary Dr Md Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal and Bangla Academy Director General poet Habibullah Siraji.
Later, the Prime Minister visited different stalls of the book fair.
The fair will remain open from 3pm to 8:30pm on weekdays, from 11am to 8:30pm on weekends, and from 8am to 9pm on February 21 -- International Mother Language Day.
On the occasion, seminars will be held at the main stage of the fair venue at 4pm every day from February 3 to 29 followed by cultural events. The seminars will also be held on Bangabandhu and books written on his life and works.
As in previous years, the venue has been extended to nearby Suhrawardy Udyan.
This year, the land earmarked for the fair was expanded to 8,00,000 sq ft. A total of 873 units were allocated to the 560 organisations.
The authorities have allotted 179 units at the Bangla Academy ground to 126 organisatons and 694 at the Suhrawardy Udyan to 694 organisations.
Every year the month-long book fair is arranged in February commemorating the sacrifices of eight people who laid down their lives on February 21, 1952 for establishing Bangla as the mother tongue.
The fair began informally in 1972 on Bangla Academy premises but the academy officially took the responsibility in 1978 to organise the book fair every year.
It was then named as 'Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela' and a guideline was laid out in this regard in 1984.