The Port Harcourt World Book Capital (WBC) team was specially invited by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to participate in the opening events for their tenure as WBC 2013. In attendance were also guests from Yerevan – the outgoing WBC, as well as representatives from the World Book Capital Selection Committee – which is made up of UNESCO, the International Publisher’s Association (IPA), the International Booksellers Federation (IBF) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
Bangkok formally accepted the WBC baton on April 23rd – World Book and Copyright Day – from the Armenian city of Yerevan which had had a successful run in 2012. Bangkok Governor, His Excellency M.R. Sukhumbhand Boriphatra, was the host for the opening ceremonies where delegates were treated to cultural displays, literary exhibitions and the launch of a number of exciting initiatives of the Bangkok WBC. Rainbow Book Club founder, Mrs. Koko Kalango, was granted a special audience with HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Crown Princess of Thailand, and had the honour of presenting the princess a token gift of books by Nigerian authors.
Mrs. Kalango also contributed to an international conference entitled ‘Reading for the Future, the Future of Reading’. The panel based their deliberations on the trend in digital publishing, the rise in the use of E-readers, and the increase in computer-based reading. Mrs. Kalango provided an excellent take on the topic from the Nigerian perspective. She noted that our primary focus is on raising literacy rates and making reading a common practice among all people, and as such, the electronic future is only relevant if it helps to enhance literacy.
The Bangkok team is expected in Port Harcourt in April 2014 for the official handover!