KARACHI: This was announced by Oxford University Press managing director Ameena Saiyid at a press conference at the Arts Council Karachi on Wednesday.
She gave a presentation which began with a brief overview of last year’s festival. She said 142 speakers, including Hanif Kureishi, Vikram Seth and William Dalrymple, took part in the event in 2012 while 50 sessions and eight book launches were held. This year an even bigger lineup was awaiting book lovers.
Ms Saiyid said eminent poet and film director Gulzar, singer Ila Arun, critic Shamim Hanafi and writer Shobhaa De would represent the India contingent. For the first time in the history of the festival writers and scholars from Russia (V. Y. Belokrenitsky, Andrey Demidov) would be seen airing views on their areas of interest. Silvia Di Netale and Kanize Mourad from France, Nadeem Aslam, George Galloway and Lemn Sissay from England, Yassin Musharbash from Germany, Lorenza Raponi from Italy and Izzeldin Abuelaish from Palestine (whose three daughters were simultaneously killed in Palestine) among others would address the audience and partake in panel discussions.
From Pakistan, Ms Saiyid said, Tehmina Durrani would speak about her books and special sessions with writer Initzar Husain (recently nominated for the International Booker prize) were the highlights of the festival. Dr Hamida Khuhro’s ‘A children’s history of the Punjab’ would be among the books to be launched. Apart from that many a programme for children had been arranged such as theatrical shows by artist Khaled Anam, puppet shows, storytelling sessions etc.
She said unlike the previous three editions of the festival, this time it would be a three-day event instead of spanning just two days. She said the reason for changing the venue was that it was more accessible to the public and public transport facility was better in the area.
Asif Farrukhi, the co-founder of the festival, said that last night he received a call from an eminent writer who quizzed him that why the festival was being organised despite the volatile situation in Karachi. He said the event was not a kind of luxury; rather it signified the importance of literature and literary pursuits and was the best way to resist forces of intolerance.
He pointed out certain ‘firsts’ which would be happening during the event. For example, a session with renowned Sindhi author Amar Jaleel (who does not usually take part in such activities) was lined up as well as the launch of a book by Hasan Dars, who passed away last year. He said Mehr Afshan Farooqi would be coming to the festival for the first time from the United States. As for Pakistani authors, he mentioned the names of Abdullah Husain, Mirza Ather Baig, Initzar Husain and Amjad Islam Amjad.
Director Goethe Institut Karachi Dr Manuel Negwar said he had been part of the third Karachi Literature Festival and was impressed by the quality participants and audiences. He said the event was a good platform for exchanging ideas. He touched on a couple of novelists from Germany who would be part of the international lineup of writers at the fourth Karachi Literature Festival.
Earlier, Arts Council president Ahmed Shah welcomed the guests.