KARACHI: One hundred speakers from Pakistan and 30 from the rest of the world will take part in the 8th Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) which will be held on Feb 10, 11 and 12 at the Beach Luxury Hotel, announced the founder of the festival and Oxford University Press Managing Director Ameena Saiyid at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday.

Ms Saiyid added that the first London edition of the event will be held on May 20 at the Southbank Centre as part of the Alchemy Festival.

Ms Saiyid said this year book lovers would be able to see and hear 100 Pakistani and 30 international speakers from 10 countries participating in various sessions. She said for the first time a poet from the Maldives was also coming to the festival. She said there would be mushairas in English and Urdu, talks, panel discussions, music and dance performances during the three-day event. She observed that this year the consulate of Switzerland was sponsoring the art exhibition whereas Germany was sponsoring the best book of the year that promoted peace, tolerance and international understanding.

Ms Saiyid then spoke about the different prizes to be given during the festival. The first one was the KLF-Pepsi Non-fiction Prize for the best book written in English in 2015-16 by a Pakistani. The long-list: Sleepwalking to Surrender by Khaled Ahmed; Surkh Salam by Kamran Asdar Ali; A Book of Conquest by Manan Ahmed Asif; A History of the Judiciary in Pakistan by Hamid Khan; The Raj at War by Yasmin Khan; and Lahore – History and Architecture of Mughal Monuments by Anjum Rahmani. She said the shortlist would be announced in a month’s time.

The long-list for the KLF-Getz Pharma Fiction Prize for the best book written in English in 2015-16 is: The Spinner’s Tale by Omar Shahid Hamid; Dear Yasmeen by Sophia Khan; The Warehouse by S.S. Mausoof; Daddy’s Boy by Shandana Minhas; The Place of Shining Light by Nazneen Sheikh; and Karachi Raj by Anis Shivani.

The long-list for the KLF-Peace Prize for the best book in 2015-16 written or translated into English by a Pakistani or a Pakistani-origin foreign national is: Masculinity, Sexuality and Illegal Migration by Ali Nobil Ahmed; Water in the Wilderness by Mehjabeen Abidi-Habib; Love and Revolution – Faiz Ahmed Faiz by Ali Madeeh Hashmi; Purifying the Land of the Pure by Farahnaz Isphahani; Fractious Path – Pakistan’s Democratic Transition by Raza Rumi; The Secrets on the War on Al Qaida by Azaz Syed; and The Footprints of Partition by Anam Zakaria.

Adding to the announcement for the peace prize, German Consul-General Dr Rainer Schmiedchen said Germany was proud to be associated with the KLF which was the “most wanted and expected cultural event”. He said there were some more highlights which would be revealed at the festival.

Ms Saiyid talked about the long-list for the KLF-Infaq Foundation Urdu Fiction/Non-fiction Prize for the best poetry or prose book published in 2015-16: Kutub Aur Kuutbkhanon Ki Tarkeeh by Ashraf Ali; Mehr-i-Darakhshan by M. Hamza Faruqi; Kulliyaat by Sarwar Husain; Urdu Adab Ki Tashkeel-i-Jadeed by Nasir Abbas Nayyar; and Dasht Mein Muhabbat by M. Hameed Shahid.

The last prize that she mentioned was the Italy Reads Pakistan Award. She said three judges from Pakistan had shortlisted five novels written in English and Urdu by Pakistani authors and an Italian jury of three judges nominated by the publishing house Metropoli d’Asia would select the winner to be declared at the KLF 2017. The prize, she said, consisted of the translation and publication of the book in Italian.

The co-founder of the festival Dr Asif Farrukhi said the purpose of the KLF was to promote books and showcase Pakistani writers. He said since it’s going to be the 70th year of Pakistan’s inception, the festival would entail discussion that would look objectively at the achievements and experiences of Pakistan in the last seven decades.

Replying to a question about the keynote speakers of the event and the expected Indian delegation, Ms Saiyid said they had certainly invited people from India but was not ready to announce the name of the keynote speaker. She said since it was Pakistan’s 70th anniversary they’d have a “prominent Pakistani as the keynote speaker”.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2016

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