The lobby areas of the main hall of the BMICH, the adjacent Sirimavo Bandaranaike Exhibition Centre and the grounds will be utilized for this mega event, at which 36 foreign and 165 local exhibitors have confirmed participation.
In Colombo this week, five leading book publishers/booksellers formally signed contracts to sponsor the CIBF 2005, with Vijitha Yapa Bookshop taking on the mantle of Principal Sponsor. Sarasavi Bookshop, Samayawardhana Bookshop, Godage & Brothers and Jeya Book Centre took co-sponsorship, while Sampath Bank was designated Official Banker and Rupavahini the electronic media sponsor.
"The growth of the Colombo International Book Fair year-on-year is phenomenal," said Ranjith Samaranayake, Managing Director of Samaranayake Publishers and Chairman of the Organising Committee "It is an event that any international convention organizer would be proud to be associated with and provides the reading public in Sri Lanka with a world class exhibition of titles as well as unbeatable prices."
Organised by the Sri Lanka Book Publishers' Association in association with the Booksellers' Association of Ceylon and the Samastha Lanka Poth Velenda Sangamaya with the BMICH as co-organiser, the Colombo International Book Fair 2005 will be a showcase for book publishers, booksellers, author-publishers, sellers of educational aids and material and providers of IT services.
It has attracted direct participation by exhibitors from the UK, USA, Australia, India, Singapore, Germany and Malaysia. Additionally, books from the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Japan will also be on sale.
All leading local publishers of Sinhala and Tamil books have also taken stalls at the Fair.
The Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Nirupama Rao will officiate as Chief Guest at the opening of the Fair On September 10. Dr. Tara De Mel, Secretary to the Ministry of Education and eminent author Cyril C. Perera will grace the occasion as guests of honour. The best performers at the Year 5 scholarship examinations from every province have been invited to the inauguration.
A highlight of the book fair will be the screening of 'Sulanga Enu Pinisa' the Sinhala movie that won honours at Cannes this year. A series of book-related events including new book launches, autograph signing sessions by authors and seminars will take place over the nine days of the exhibition.
Students from leading Colombo schools will put on performances during the day, while university students will do likewise in the evenings.
Visitors will also have opportunities to win valuable books at hourly raffle draws and benefit from special bargain offers, discounts and one-time offers that will only be available at the Fair.
As in other years, the organisers have arranged free shuttle bus services from Borella and the Town Hall to the BMICH.
Visitors who arrive by car will have the services of a shuttle bus from the car parks to the exhibition halls. Ample covered outdoor seating, refreshment outlets, free drinking water and printed stall plans have also been organised for the benefit of visitors.
The CIBF's annual project in collaboration with Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation to start libraries in 10 rural schools with books collected at each fair will be continued this year, organisers said. Additionally, on an initiative by the Ministry of Education, arrangements have been made for principals and teachers of all National and Navodya schools numbering over 500 islandwide to visit the fair this year to make their annual library purchases.
Entrance is free to the CIBF, which will run from September 10 - 18, and will be open to the public from 9.30 am to 8 pm.