Third Islamabad Literature Festival begins on Friday

April 21, 2015

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Ameena Saiyid speaks at a press conference on Monday. Asghar Nadeem Syed and poet Kishwar Naheed are also present. — INP
Ameena Saiyid speaks at a press conference on Monday. Asghar Nadeem Syed and poet Kishwar Naheed are also present. — INP

ISLAMABAD: Oxford University Press Pakistan (OUPP) has finalised arrangements for the capital’s third literature festival which begins on Friday.

The three-day festival will feature panel discussions and talks, interviews, book launches and poetry recitals in both English and Urdu. The panel discussions and talks will take up numerous social and political issues while a number of renowned academic, authors, poets and political figures will participate in the festival.

Addressing a press conference, at a local hotel, on Monday OUPP Managing Director Ameena Saiyid said in India, 67 literature festivals take place each year while in Pakistan the festivals are very few and limited to Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.

She said organisations and individuals should take the initiative to organise such festivals in other cities as well, and OUPP is willing to support such initiatives.

Regarding the upcoming festival in Islamabad, Ms Saiyid said both books and authors would be promoted.

“The festival features 171 speakers, 148 from Pakistan and 23 from abroad, who will participate in 60 sessions. The foreign literary figures will come from India, United Kingdom, United States, France and Australia,” she said.

“Moreover, 22 books will be launched during the festival and seven languages i.e. English, Urdu, Hindi, French, Balochi, Punjabi and Pashto will be represented. Special dance will be performed to Kishwar Naheed’s poem ‘Yay Hum Gunahgar Aurtain Hain’ (Here are we are, the sinful women),” she said.

Ms Saiyid said students and teachers from the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar will participate in the festival.

Participating poet Kishwar Naheed said the conference will provide an opportunity to people associated with literature to interact with one another.

“During the festival, people will also have the opportunity to meet those literary figures who are not given enough attention by the electronic and print media,” she said.

Gallup Pakistan Chairman Dr Ijaz Shafi Gillani said Pakistan’s big cities have lost their essential character.

“Developing an urban society does not just mean building roads networks but people from various communities must also interact. By organising such festivals, networking between people can be ensured,” he said.

Writer Asghar Nadeem Syed said such festivals provide the opportunity for young people to be educated about their countries politics, literature and culture. “Students should come to the festival because they are the future writers,” he said.

USAID Representative Askari Jafri said USAID had been working to promote the culture of reading in the country which was why it was collaborating to make the festival a success.

Muhammad Amir, an educationist, said literary festivals were organised to promote literature and for ideas to be shared.

“Educational institutions should make sure their students visit the literary festival,” he said.

Security officer for the festival Malik Muhammad Bilal told Dawn that special arrangements had been made to ensure security at the festival.

“No objection certificates have been obtained from the district administration and the police have been taken onboard. Moreover, Special Branch will also monitor the security arrangements for the festival,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2015

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