LAHORE: The sixth edition of the annual Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) will commence from Feb 24 at the Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall, says a press release by the organisers.

Confirmed speakers who will be a part of conversations and panel discussions at the two-day festival include journalist and historian Christoper de Bellaigue, historian Audrey Truschke, Booker Prize winner novelist Ben Okri, activist and urban theorist Arif Hasan, British-Pakistani food writer Sumayya Usmani, Iranian artist and curator Vali Malhouji, poet and scholar Iftikhar Arif, Kishwar Naheed; Somali-British novelist Nadifa Mohamed, short story writer and critic Aamer Hussein and Iraqi award winning poet, novelist, and scholar Sinan Antoon.

The LLF will feature Dastangoi and an evening with Pakistan’s prized orator Zia Mohyeddin on Why Shakespeare is Shakespeare.

“The LLF, during the past five editions, has burnished Lahore’s place where ideas and debate triumph in the public realm,” said a statement from the organisers.

“It has engaged students and citizens to hear vibrant discussions on a range of diverse themes to mark book launches and honour our great citizens, literary as well as those who have shaped Pakistan’s civic discourse.

“The LLF brings world-class speakers and moderators to step away from the arrested TV news-cycle where facts are often overlooked and the bigger picture is missing,” said journalist and writer Ahmed Rashid.

“The past two years have seen the LLF go international,” said Nuscie Jamil, director of the LLF.

“It worked with the Asia Society in New York to showcase Pakistan’s arts and literary traditions, and in London, it had the privilege of hosting Malala at its second edition in the British Library,” she added.

The LLF has honoured eminent Pakistanis abroad such as the writer Sara Suleri, and Pakistan’s leading oncologist in New York, Dr Azra Raza, the Chan Soon-Shiong professor of medicine and director of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) Centre at Columbia University.

The LLF 2018 will feature a keynote address by Dr Raza who has worked closely with Suleri and they together translated Ghalib into English.

Some of the past speakers at the LLF in Lahore have included Tariq Ali, Vikram Seth, the late Intizar Hussain, Tehmina Durrani, Joe Sacco, the late Abdullah Hussein, Kamran Lashari, Kamila Shamsie, Hari Kunzru, Sana Mir, Romila Thapar, Asma Jahangir, Michael Palin, Mira Nair, Sharmila Tagore, Teju Cole, Steve Coll, Ayesha Jalal, Margaret MacMillan, Rasheed Araeen, William Dalrymple and Peter Frankopan.

The LLF 2018 is a free public event and seating at all sessions is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2018