Colombo's book fair promises big treat, India's KIran Bedi Chief Guest

Sep 5 (IL) The biggest annual event - the Colombo International Book Fair - whose 2004 edition is billed to set new records for exhibitors and visitors this year.

More than 200,000 people are expected to throng the BMICH and the adjacent Sirimavo Bandaranaike Exhibition Centre from September 6-12 when the fair now in its sixth year gets underway, organisers said. A record 252 stalls representing 49 foreign and 119 local exhibitors makes this the biggest book fair in Colombo to date.

Organised by the Book Publishers' Association and the BMICH in association with the Booksellers' Association of Ceylon and the Samastha Lanka Poth Velanda Sangamaya, the Colombo International Book Fair 2004 has attracted exhibitors from the UK, USA, Australia, India, Singapore and Malaysia whose publications would be displayed at stalls spread over the BMICH and the Exhibition Centre.

Sri Lanka's resident celebrity author, Arthur Clarke will officiate as chief guest at the opening of the fair on September 6. A series of book-related events including new book launches, autograph signing sessions by authors and workshops will take place over the seven days of the exhibition. Visitors will also have opportunities to win valuable books at hourly raffle draws. A feature at this year's event will be a SAARC pavilion representing publishers and Booksellers' Association from the seven-member nations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

As in other years, shuttle bus services from Borella and Town Hall to the BMICH. Visitors who arrive by car will have the services of a shuttle bus from the car park to the main hall