Lahore is getting ready for rejuvenating its passion for creativity… for the revival of its art, literature, culture and heritage and this is what the first-ever Lahore Literary Festival aims to promote.
The two-day festival will start on Feb 23 at Alhamra on The Mall and eminent literati are excited about the interest and goodwill it has generated. The event has already confirmed a wide range of prominent writers and authors from across the globe, including Tariq Ali, Bapsi Sidhwa, Tehmina Durrani, Intizar Hussain, Mohsin Hamid, Muhammad Hanif, Zehra Nigah, Nadeem Aslam, Ayesha Jalal, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Ahmed Rashid and Musharraf Ali Farooqi.
In addition to amazing representation of the Pakistani diaspora, the festival organisers have also invited Indian literati Ila Arun, Urvashi Butalia and the most recognisable British face in South Asia, William Dalrymple.
Legendary Intizar Hussain feels extremely happy to be associated with an event such as the LLF. “It is a platform to celebrate and appreciate literature. I hope that it becomes an annual event in Lahore.”
To senior journalist Ahmed Rashid, it’s a huge development for Lahore which was once one of the major centres of learning, culture and publishing in both British and Mughal India. “Lahore should have been in the lead of having this festival much earlier and I hope now it will make up for lost time.”
In the words of Tehmina Durrani, another prominent writer attending the festival: “Pakistan’s literature is not at pace with modern-day developments. It is a shadow of what it was in the past. The LLF will be a big help to the literary community as it will aid in curbing this decline in our society.”
For Libby Owen, the founding director of Galle Literary Festival and author of Monsoon Rains & Icicle Drops, it will be great to see so many fantastic Pakistani and International writers over one action-packed weekend in the greatest Mughal city in the world.
“I am a big fan of literary festivals having been to many in different parts of the globe. The atmosphere and discussion they create and the sense of community is fantastic. Lahore is the perfect city to host a literary festival – great writers, incredible history, amazing music, art and architecture and arguably some of the best food in South Asia – all the ingredients that make a festival successful!”
Scheduled panel discussions on Urdu and English literature and book readings include: The Courtesan in Urdu Novels; Legacy of Political Autobiographies; Urdu Writings Future in the Punjab; Nadeem Aslam’s The Blind Man’s Garden; The Holy Warrior in Pakistani Cinema to be presented by Hameed Haroon; Discovering Pakistan’s English-Language Poetry to be moderated by Ahmed Rashid; Language and Storytelling in the 21st Century; Architecture of Urbanism and Aesthetics.