Annual Lahore Literary Festival begins today
LAHORE: The second annual Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) begins today (Friday) at the Alhamra Arts Council, The Mall.
A line-up of 100 speakers from Pakistan and across the world including Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie, Indian filmmaker Mira Nair and Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies Dean Vali Nasr are scheduled to speak on panel sessions at the three-day festival.
“We have scheduled book launches, readings, panel discussions, performances, and exhibitions as part of this year’s festival to celebrate the best of Lahore’s varied and storied cultural traditions”, said LLF Director Razi Ahmed.
The LLF features 64 panel discussions in total on topics ranging from Punjabi humour to the qawwalis of the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and conflicts in the Middle East region. Pakistani famed kathak dancer Nahid Siddiqui and jazz band Sachal Sarmast are scheduled to perform on the Friday and Saturday evenings respectively.
In keeping with its egalitarian spirit, the LLF advisory committee have decided to keep all sessions and performances at the festival free-of-charge and open to public. Seating at all sessions is on a first-come first-served basis.
The advisory council comprises journalist Ahmed Rashid, Gandhara-art curator Amna Naqvi, The Last Word publisher Aysha Raja, consulting editor of Newsweek Pakistan Khaled Ahmed, novelist Mohsin Hamid, writer Muneeza Shamsie, public relations executive Nusrat Jamil, patron of arts Salima Hashmi, and educationist Zareena Saeed.
“We bring together new ideas and themes to the programme each year,” said Razi Ahmed.
“This year’s programme reflects our commitment to present a well-thought and stimulating literary festival packed with intellectually-stimulating events in Urdu and English, as well as Punjabi.” The debut LLF 2013 was held at the Alhamra Arts Centre from 23rd to 24th February 2013 and drew over 30,000 visitors and featured, notable literati’s including Amin Jaffer, Ayesha Jalal, Bapsi Sidhwa, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Jeet Thayil, Linda Bird Francke, Lyse Doucet, Mohammed Hanif, Nadeem Aslam and Shehan Karunatilaka.