A feast for all senses

Published February 21, 2014
— File photo
— File photo

Lahore, Pakistan's historical capital and centre of the arts, literature and music, is playing host to the second and even more fabulous Lahore Literary Festival (LLF). For three days starting Feb. 21 and ending on the evening of Feb. 23, over one hundred writers, artists and musicians from eight countries will provide audiences with a stimulating array of ideas, intellectual conversation, literary discussion and visual drama. Lahore's ancient traditions of storytelling, painting, dance and music are being brought to life again under the banner of the LLF.

Last year's debut of the LLF drew over 30,000 people. This year we hope to double that audience as there are more and varied sessions, four core spaces at the venue, and a much wider array of tantalizing thinkers from home and abroad who will not fail to attract more people.

There are prominent writers coming from Bangladesh, Britain, Egypt, France and, of course, our large and diverse neighbor India from where Vikram Seth heads a stellar lineup that includes Rajeev Sethi, Namita Gokhale and Shobhaa De. As much care is being taken over inviting renowned moderators to make the sessions even more stimulating. We are fortunate to have moderators from the New York Times, the New York Review of Books and the BBC along with top Pakistani hosts.

Pakistani highlights include the first public appearance for many years by Shahzia Sikander, one of the world's most celebrated miniaturist and artist, book launches by Urdu-novelist Julien Columeau, and the brilliant novelist Kamila Shamsie who will read from her new novel 'A God in Every Stone.' There will be a special showing and discussion of the work of Lahore's lost daughter, the artist Amrita Sher Gil and the same for Iahore's deceased music maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

There are high-powered sessions dealing with non-fiction where important writers from this genre look at art and literature and consider how they can be used to fix a world that is in increasing turmoil. Sessions on the Middle East, Afghanistan and other parts of the world in turmoil are viewed through the lenses of the region's top writers and intellectuals. Taking into consideration Lahore's traditional diversity, sessions will be held in Urdu, English and Punjabi and literature and poetry from all three languages will be discussed. The evenings will be jam-packed with both traditional and the latest music and dance that Pakistan has to offer, while guided tours of the city will introduce first time guests and writers to the magnificence of old Lahore. 'We want to celebrate and show off Lahore's most varied and best storied cultural traditions,' says Razi Ahmed, LLF's founding director.

Ahmed Rashid, writer and journalist, is the author of five books on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. He is on the Advisory Committee of the LLE.

Opinion

Editorial

Noon leaks
Updated 27 Sep, 2022

Noon leaks

PMO audio leaks are a national security emergency that ought to be investigated at the highest level.
Cipher probe offer
27 Sep, 2022

Cipher probe offer

CONSIDERING the toxic political polarisation in the country, former prime minister Imran Khan’s suggestion that ...
Delaying Doha plans
27 Sep, 2022

Delaying Doha plans

WHEN Doha announced its intention to spend $3bn in different commercial and investment sectors of Pakistan around a...
Debt deferment
Updated 26 Sep, 2022

Debt deferment

Pakistan’s dollar funding needs for next 5 years have never been so large and world’s appetite to hold its hands never so poor.
Dengue concerns
26 Sep, 2022

Dengue concerns

AS weather conditions change in Pakistan, the threat of dengue looms large over the land. According to a warning...
Relic of colonialism
26 Sep, 2022

Relic of colonialism

THE law on sedition, one of several holdovers of colonial times, is among the most handy instruments for controlling...