February 2011. This was announced at a press conference hosted jointly by the British Council, Oxford University Press, and Asif Farrukhi—organisers of the Karachi Literature Festival. There is currently a huge interest around the world in writing from Pakistan, and established and emerging Pakistani writers have received great attention and critical acclaim internationally as well as at home.
“The aim of the Karachi Literature Festival is to promote and project Pakistan writers and to get people reading. Independent writers are the conscience of a nation. The very fact that there are so many prominent writers in Pakistan is a wonderful sign of life, growth, and hope for society. The author, the poet, the playwright, the biographer have a great contribution to make to our society and we are organizing this Festival to honour our writers, raise their profile and bring them closer to their readers” said Ameena Saiyid OBE, Managing Director, Oxford University Press, and Founder, Karachi Literature Festival.
“After the success of the first Festival last year, which was attended by more than 3,000 people and received attention from all over the world, we are hoping and aiming for a much bigger show this time”, said Syed Mashhood Rizvi, Director British Council Sindh and Balochistan. “It is very important that such positive news about Pakistan also be there in the international media”, he further added.
The Festival, the first of its kind in Pakistan, provides an opportunity to put Pakistan on the map as a country rich in culture and creativity. It will feature talks, panel discussions, creative writing workshops, book launches, and readings by renowned authors from Pakistan, UK, USA, and India. A tribute to the great Pakistani poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, is also planned during the festival. His daughter, Salima Hashmi, will reminisce about her years with him.
Writers including Karen Armstrong, author of Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, A History of God, and other books on comparative religion; Daniyal Mueenuddin, author of the critically-acclaimed short story collection In Other Rooms, Other Wonders; Kamila Shamsie, author of Burnt Shadows, Kartography and other novels; Ahmed Rashid, author of the best-selling book, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia; and Sara Suleri Goodyear, author of Meatless Days, will be the highlights at the Festival.
In addition to this, many Urdu poets and authors like Amjad Islam Amjad, Intizar Hussain, Zehra Nigah, Iftikhar Arif, Hassan Manzar, Zaheda Hina, Asad M. Khan, and Kishwar Naheed will also be an important part of the event.
Both the organisers have already started to build up the momentum for the Festival this year with activities related to and leading towards the main event. The launch of Granta magazine in Pakistan; a creative writing workshop for young writers in Karachi and Lahore conducted by the renowned author, Kate Pullinger; an essay-writing competition for school children; and a short story contest are some of the activities held to mark the Festival.
The Festival will provide a forum for dialogue between Pakistan and the rest of the world—putting contemporary writing and thought from Pakistan on an international platform, and bringing modern writings from around the world to Pakistani audiences.
The Festival will be held at the Carlton Hotel, Karachi, from 5 to 6 February 2011