Adab Festival Pakistan to have 56 literary sessions

January 25, 2019

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AMEENA Saiyid speaks at the event.—White Star
AMEENA Saiyid speaks at the event.—White Star

KARACHI: One hundred and forty speakers, including 15 international writers and scholars, will take part in 56 sessions at the inaugural Adab Festival Pakistan to be held on Feb 1, 2 and 3 at Governor House.

This was said by the director and founder of the event Ameena Saiyid at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday evening.

Ms Saiyid said the festival will begin at 3.30pm on Feb 1 after Friday prayers. At 6.30pm the inauguration will take place with the internationally renowned academic Vali Nasr’s keynote speech, followed by speeches by Dr Ishrat Husain and Arifa Syeda Zehra. Then the prize for fiction in English will be announced.

There is free entry to the event. For three days Governor House will turn into a public space. The only request to guests is that they bring at least photocopies of their ID cards.

Ms Saiyid said 140 speakers will take part in the festival, including 125 Pakistanis and 15 foreigners. The participating countries include the UK, France, India, Germany, the US, Portugal and Canada. There will be 25 book launches and a total of 56 sessions. The Adab Festival Pakistan will begin with a string puppet show and dances representing all four provinces of the country will be performed, apart from comedy shows and a mushaira. For two and a half days there will be an adabi jashn in Karachi.

Co-director of the event Asif Farrukhi said the purpose of the festival is to highlight Pakistan’s culture, especially Pakistani literature. Apart from introducing new writers and poets, it will celebrate established authors.

Governor House has helped the organisers in providing them with space, otherwise the support has come from the different sponsors of the event.

Sibtain Naqvi said the fiction prize is sponsored by Getz Pharma and the novelists that have been shortlisted for the prize include big names such as Mohammed Hanif and Kamila Shamsie.

Tasneem Ahmar talked about an important session on media literacy. She said it will be a panel discussion which will highlight not just the importance to understand the media but to have a dialogue with it.

Imrana Maqsood said her area of specialisation is cuisines. In that connection her book Subha ka nashta shaam ki chai Imrana Maqsood ke sath will be launched at the festival.

Mr Farrukhi said the mushaira at the event will feature poets such as Iftikhar Arif, Anwar Shaoor and Kishwar Naheed. Distinguished poet Zehra Nigah will participate in no less than three sessions. Then there is a discussion on the changing face of Urdu poetry in which Afzal Syed, Tanveer Anjum and Azra Abbas will shed light on the subject. Eminent writers Amar Jaleel, Noorul Huda Shah and poet Imdad Husaini will also be seen speaking on a variety of subjects.

Ms Saiyid mentioned the authors coming from abroad. They, among others, include Lt-Col Ian Vaughan-Arbuckle who was posted in Karachi during Ayub Khan’s rule, and cricket writer Peter Oborne.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2019