KARACHI, Aug 19: I write, therefore I am. This variation of the 17th-century French philosopher Descartes’ quote seemed to reverberate in the awards ceremony of the Young Writers’ Competition on Women in Pakistan held at the Goethe-Institut here on Saturday.

Out of the 600 hopefuls who had participated in the event, the Goethe-Institut selected 20 aspiring writers, who have been invited to attend a workshop on creative writing in Lahore next month. The event was attended by Justice Nasira Iqbal, who is also the patron of the competition, Amina Saiyid, managing director Oxford University Press, writer Muneeza Shamsie, political analyst Khalid Ahmed, author Fahmida Riaz, Ghazi Salahuddin and Ambreena Kazi from the English department, University of Karachi.

The event was made further interesting when some of the literary figures — Khalid Ahmed, Fahmida Riaz and Ambreena Kazi — read out the text contributed by the first three winners, which was both thought-provoking and engaging. Both the judges and the audience appreciated the depth in the creative writing and the maturity with which the subject was handled.

All the 20 winning contributions will be compiled in book form to be published by the OUP.

Justice Nasira Iqbal said that these 60 years had been quite turbulent for Pakistan but appreciated that the masses had rallied forthwith to counter this turbulence.

She added that women in Pakistan had a special cause to celebrate since they had now begun to play an important role in areas like health, education, law, and politics as well. She also asserted that it was high time women got elected through direct elections.

The ceremony was beautifully punctuated by a sitar and tabla performance by Sajid Hussain and Umaid Hussain. Both performers enthralled listeners with a mix of classical and Rajasthani music, taking it to frenzied heights, as the instruments carried a dialogue between them in perfect harmony.

The competition is part of the Goethe-Institut’s 50th anniversary programme in Karachi, 60 years of Pakistan’s independence, and the 90th birth anniversary of famous German writer Heinrich Böll.