ISLAMABAD  – National Book Foundation (NBF) has planned a number of colourful activities to mark National Book Day, falling on April 22, to glorify the love of books and promote intellectual refinement.The five-day celebrations featuring a host of colourful and knowledge-oriented activities will start from April 22 and will continue till April 26 at Pak China Friendship Centre. The booksellers, publishing houses, literary and cultural bodies from all over the country will participate and showcase their products on the occasion.The Day will be marked with the aim to urge all children, youth and adults from all walks of life, to realize the importance of book-reading and to advocate the significance of habitual reading.It will also help to assist the parents, guardians, teachers and librarians by introducing/ publicizing effective and suitable techniques that will promote reading among children and youth. Among various activities, the most prominent feature is the Book Reading Festival that will be held on April 22. This festive activity is the first of its kind in Pakistan in which prominent literary personalities, intellectuals, writers celebrities from showbiz and members form civil society will participate.  The festival will start in the afternoon and a galaxy of celebrities including Intizar Hussain, Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi, Prof. Fateh Mohammad Malik, Mustansar Hussain Tarar, Reema Khan, Mahmood Shaam, Munno Bhai, Qavi Khan and Zahida Hina will delight the audience. A book signing ceremony will be held, in which renowned writers and poets will sign their books that public can buy from book stalls in the fair.The activities of children will continue throughout the day, on this occasion children can also meet with celebrities and famous personalities. A special attraction of the day will be the Children Book Castle. One can also imagine as being one of the characters of the Castle. The underprivileged Children will also be gifted coupons so that they can buy any thing of their choice.  To inculcate interest in children for book reading, a number of attractions of children’s interest are being featured in the book fair.However, the idea of Coffee Library will also be highlighted, which is derived from the existence of coffee houses and tea houses which played significant role to enrich the world of literature. The event will formally be inaugurated by the Chief Guest who will also hoist book flag and join this extravaganza including writers, poets, intellectuals and personalities form the civil society. The ‘Book Anthem’, especially prepared for the book day, will be presented and will be followed by oath taking ceremony in which the members of civil society, book ambassadors, representatives of the literary societies, students and teachers will take oath that they would devote their leisure time to reading books and would promote the reading habit. Book March will be another significant programme of National Book Day. School Children in attractive dresses wearing book shaped caps and carrying placards inscribed with slogans ‘Plant a Book and Read a Tree’, ‘Lets Celebrate Books’ and ‘Book Power’ will parade on the occasion. In a conference of the Book Ambassadors, they will discuss the reasons of decline in reading habits, and will suggest means and ways as how to promote book reading culture and to make books available at affordable price.National Library will set up a library at the venue and will offer membership to the public, teachers and students. A conference of librarians will also be held to provide opportunities for sharing and discussion of the current status and research and also to examine issues related to consolidating technology, information resources, knowled On April 24, Heer Night will be celebrated and Heer will be read out to the audience from the classic book of renowned Sufi poet Waris Shah based on the tragic folk romance of Punjab. Another attraction of the fair will be a practical demonstration of various steps that go into the development of book from its writing to the last stage of its binding. Special discount will be offered to book lovers and every buyer of book will be presented with a flower since the occasion will be more like a Book Valentine’s Day. At the end of the day-long ceremonies, a cash award will be given to the best bibliophile from among the buyers of the book, who has been prolific reader of books under the age of fifteen.A specific programme will be held in which children can meet their favourite authors who specially devoted their talent and time for writing books for children. Apart from a number of stalls of books and publications, there will be food stalls offering delicious cuisine. Moreover a few stalls will offer accessories and hardware for display and sale from the standpoint of development of e-books.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 21-Apr-2012 here.