Karachi Literature Festival — literati to dazzle book lovers
By: Peerzada Salman
KARACHI: Literary luminaries Gulzar, Nadeem Aslam, Shobha De, journalist Kanak Mani Dixit and writer and politician George Galloway will be among a wide range of literati and thinkers to attend the 4th Karachi Literature Festival to be held from Feb 15 to Feb 17 at the Beach Luxury Hotel.
The festival has gained significance over the last three years not just because of the magnitude of the event (which runs for three days and is composed of many literary, political and social panel discussions, book launches and meet-the-author programmes) but also because of the quality of its participants. International literary stalwarts such as William Dalrymple, Shobha De, Vikram Seth, Hanif Kureshi and Shamsurrehman Farooqi and an array of Pakistani intellectuals and writers such as Intizar Husain, Ayesha Jalal, Mohammed Hanif and Iftikhar Arif have so far been the highlights of the festival.
Given the success of the previous three editions, this year too literature buffs are expecting a stellar lineup of authors and creative individuals to take part in the event. It is but natural that the organisers, Oxford University Press, keep the names of their international guests under the hat for various reasons and only reveal it a week or two before the event kicks off.
According to OUP managing director Ameena Saiyid, writers, journalists and intellectuals from different parts of the world will speak at the festival and Pakistani book lovers will get an opportunity to interact and share ideas with them.
Those who will be coming from the UK include politician, journalist and writer George Galloway, novelist Nadeem Aslam and playwright and screenwriter Farrukh Dhondy. Nadeem Aslam will be the keynote speaker at the event.
India too will be represented by some illustrious names. Poet, lyricist, short story writer and film director Gulzar is one of them. Writer and journalist Shobha De will be attending the festival for a second time.
Eminent Nepali journalist Kanak Mani Dixit is an added South Asian attraction to the festival.
No fewer than 23 books will be launched during the course of three days. A collection of Urdu poet N. M. Rashid’s translations from modern Persian poetry will see the light of day. It is an extremely valuable addition to the world of literature itself, leave alone the KLF. No less important is the launch of a book of poet Jaun Elia’s prose writings, ‘Farnood’. ‘Of Martyrs and Marigolds’ by Aquila Ismail and ‘How it happened’ by Shazaf Fatima will also be launched.
Apart from that, an important session on the sensitive issue of Balochistan is expected to be participated by some known socio-political figures who have been keenly following the subject.
Prominent Pakistani media persons Najam Sethi, Nasim Zehra, Maliha Lodhi and Zahid Hussain are also part of the large group of speakers. Some other distinguished participants are Amar Jalil, Shamim Hanafi, Mehr Afshan Farooqui, Kamila Shamsie, H. M. Naqvi, Kamran Asdar Ali, Iftikhar Arif and Zehra Nigah.
A session with Intizar Husain, who has been nominated for this year’s International Booker award, is something a lot of literature buffs, particularly those into Urdu fiction, will be looking forward to.