LAHORE: The seventh edition of the Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) will start on Friday (today), bringing together delegates from around the world as well as different parts of the country to discuss a variety of topics.
The event will commence with an opening ceremony at 3pm, followed by a keynote address. The discussion will be about the life and legacy of renowned poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
Well-known poetess Zehra Nigah will discuss Faiz’s life and work and will be in conversation with Nasreen Rehman.
Friday’s sessions will be limited to half a day and after the keynote address there will be five sessions in the same time slot, from 5pm to 6pm.
One of the sessions will be on “Populism and the Future of Global Democracy”, where historians Dr Ayesha Jalal and Eugene Rogan, author Christopher Merrill and political commentator Afshin Shahi will be on the panel, which will be moderated by well-known journalist and author Ahmed Rashid.
Main session will be about the life and work of Faiz
“Securing Pakistan’s Water Future” will be moderated by environmentalist Rina Saeed Khan, who will be in conversation with Erum Sattar, a water law and policy expert, and technocrat Shamsul Mulk.
A session on heritage will also be held, where “digitising our past to preserve our heritage” will be discussed. A session titled “Digital History: The Balochistan Archives” promises to be an interesting discussion between Sindh’s Ravinder L. Jha, Balochistan’s Hafeez Jamali and Nur Sobers-Khan (British Library Lead Curator for South Asian Collections).
Books entitled “My Pakistan: The Story of a Bishop” and “Metro Lahore” will be launched with conversations with the authors, Alexander John Malik, the bishop of Lahore, and Faizan Ahmed.
Nelofer Bakhtiar will be moderating the first half of the session while Duke University researcher Kate Vyborny will be handling the second half. Mr Ahmed’s book is about a ‘photographic journey’ along Lahore’s Metro Bus.
The LLF has always presented discussions on a plethora of topics. It included not just literature in English, Urdu, Punjabi and Seraiki, but also Sindhi and Pashto as part of its sessions in previous years.
Topics range from politics and society to arts and culture and even environment and technology. Impacts, causes, and experiences are spoken about. There are also music, dance and theatre performances at the LLF.
The festival has always been a bridge between local and foreign delegates and the public. Because of its diversity of elements, it has now become integral to Lahore’s cultural activities, especially as its most festive season — the spring — emerges.
At a time when Basant has been banned, spring has turned into a period where many such events are held, led by LLF.
Its growing popularity has enabled its international editions to be launched in London and New York, with much of the same format.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2019