Karachi Literature Festival set to celebrate its 11th edition

Asma Tirmizi

KARACHI: The much-awaited Karachi Literature Festival (KLF), organized by Oxford University Press, is all set to celebrate its 11th edition this year from 28 February to 1 March 2020. The overarching theme of this year’s festival is ‘Across Continents: How the Word Travels’ which will explore different aspects of the trans-geographical nature of literature.
Arshad Saeed Husain, Managing Director, Oxford University Press (OUP) Pakistan, shared details of the 11th KLF in a press conference held at the Arts Council of Pakistan on Tuesday. He said that over 200 speakers and authors from Pakistan, UK, USA, France, Germany, and Italy will participate in the event.
There will be over 80 sessions featuring talks, panel discussions, Urdu and English mushaira, readings, performing arts, and film screenings. Around 22 books will be launched at the festival this year. Of special significance at the 11th KLF is a session planned for performance poetry and a workshop on ‘Media Literacy and Misinformation’. This year an art exhibition titled ‘Ahang: Peaceful Protest against Warfare around the Globe’ will showcase video installations and new media art.
Speaking on the occasion, Arshad Saeed Husain said, “The 11th KLF will feature a number of sessions that will look at how the written and spoken word connects across borders and results in a cross-pollination of ideas and inspiration for literary works. The festival aims to bring together not only the stalwarts of Pakistan’s literary world and academia, but also some of the most creative minds beyond Pakistan’s border.” He further added, “Through its vibrant programme, the festival celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity.”
Arshad Saeed Husain announced that William Dalrymple and Zaheda Hina will be the keynote speakers at the KLF inauguration while Ahdaf Soueif and Harris Khalique will deliver the keynote speeches at the closing ceremony.
Alexandre Colliex, Claire Chambers, David Waterman, George Fulton, Harriet Sandys, Julien Columeau, Massimo Ramaioli, Sadia Abbas, Sean Pue, Victoria Schofield, Jochen Hippler, and Bettina Robotka are some of the international names participating in the festival.
The local literary luminaries, academics, and artistes to be featured in the 11th KLF include Adnan Siddiqui, Ahmed Shah, Ally Adnan, Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Arieb Azhar, Asad Mohammad Khan, Asad Umar, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Atiqa Odho, Attiya Dawood, Azhar Abbas, Beo Zafar, Bushra Ansari, Faisal Subzwari, Faseeh Bari Khan, Fawzia Afzal Khan, Faysal Quraishi, Ghazi Salahuddin, Hafiz Pasha, Hamna Zubair, Haseena Moin, Huma Baqai, Ikram Sehgal, Ishrat Husain, Javed Jabbar, Kaif Ghaznavi, Kaiser Bengali, Kamal Azfar, Khaled Anam, Khalid Ahmad, Kishwar Naheed, Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, Mazhar Abbas, Mubashir Zaidi, Mushaal Hussein Mullick, Nadeem Farooq Paracha, Navid Shahzad, Neelum Ahmad Basheer, Niilofur Farrukh, Noorul Huda Shah, Omar Shahid, Hamid, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Pirzada Qasim, Reza Baqir, Sabyn Javeri, Sanam Saeed, Sardar Masood Khan, Sarmad Khoosat, Shamshad Akhtar, Sheheryar Munawar Siddiqui, Sohail Malik, Taha Kehar, Wusatullah Khan, Zafar Hilaly, and Zehra Nigah.
While talking to the media, Arshad Saeed Husain mentioned that this year four prizes will be awarded from the KLF forum. These include the KLF-Getz Pharma Fiction Prize, KLF-Habib Metro Non-Fiction Prize, KLF-Infaq Foundation Urdu Literature Prize and KLF – Arts Council Sindhi & Balochi Prize. The submissions received for these prizes are evaluated by panels of jury members comprising eminent critics, writers, and scholars. Books shortlisted for the KLF-Getz Pharma Fiction Prize were announced at the press conference, which include Call Me Al by Sheheryar Sheikh, The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali by Uzma Aslam Khan, Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif, and The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack by H.M Naqvi.
While sharing his views at the press conference, Salman Tarik Kureshi, poet, columnist, and member of the KLF Advisory Board, said, “The theme for this year’s KLF takes us beyond this city, or even the country, to reflect upon the fact that literature, culture, and intellectual scholarship are international phenomena, which travel across continents faster than the click of a mouse, and are not restricted by national or ethnic borders.”
The KLF Advisory Board members include Muneeza Shamsie, Mujahid Barelvi, Iftikhar Arif, Harris Khalique, Salman Tarik Kureshi, Bina Shah, and Michael Houlgate, some of whom were present on the occasion. Other eminent literary figures also attended the press conference.
The 11th Karachi Literature Festival will take place at the Beach Luxury Hotel. Following in its decade old tradition, the festival will be free and open to public.

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