Karachi Literature Festival 2017 #KhiLF

KLF creates spaces where cultural and intellectual energies gain release and knowledge and understanding, both about today’s world, ourselves, and our history and civilization, are not only disseminated but also questioned and debated critically.

8th KLF-2017 (Day-1)

Karachi Literature Festival kicked off on 10th February in Karachi till 12th February 2017.

“The KLF is held to celebrate the rich, ancient, and diverse cultures and literatures of Pakistan so that they flourish, bloom and make an impact by becoming accessible to a wider public. KLF creates spaces where cultural and intellectual energies gain release and knowledge and understanding, both about today’s world, ourselves, and our history and civilization, are not only disseminated but also questioned and debated critically”. These thoughts were expressed by Ms. Ameena Saiyid OBE, Managing Director, Oxford University Press (OUP), and Founder/Director, Karachi Literature Festival, and Co-founder, Children’s Literature Festival at the inauguration ceremony of the 8th Karachi Literature Festival at Beach Luxury Hotel.

KLF is back again with an urge to delight the crave of avid readers, to enrich the enriched history of literature for its appreciators. KLF can be viewed as a little token of appreciation from the individuals of the society to those who offered a perspective on the unique Pakistani society and culture, and have thus contributed to the development of a thriving literary tradition in Pakistan.

The very first item on the opening day was a performance by musician, Asif Sinan.
Sinan, who specializes in bridging the East and the West through his musical innovations, first and foremost, presented the national anthem. It was a very unconventional presentation on the guitar.

The next piece was an old Rafi-Lata duet, “Saavan Beeta Jai”, followed by other light Eastern and Western pieces.

Dr Asif Aslam Farrukhi, the co-founder of the festival, said that kites had gone out of the sky with the ban on Basant celebrations. The spring, according to weather pundits, had been shortened. So now, he said, we’d have a “Basant of books”. The KLF, he said, had added another facet to city life. He referred to the KLF as “the mother of all literature festivals”.

Around 136 Pakistani and 40 international authors and speakers from ten countries are participating in the festival. Mustansar Hussain Tarar and Ayesha Jalal were the keynote speakersat the inauguration.

Prizes were announced and Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, a former ambassador who was the jury member, announced the winner of the prize for the non-fiction book of the year. The prize went to Yasmeen Khan for her book, “The Raj at War”.

There were 18 book launches and more than 70 sessions. A vibrant programme, encapsulating talks, panel discussions, readings, book launches, English and Urdu mushaira, stand-up comedy, author signings, performing arts, art exhibition, film screenings, art strand, book fair, literary awards, and a food court, had been lined up for the festival.

Conclusion of the first day of KLF-2017 was done by a captivating ‘Kathak’ performance by Shayma Saiyid.

8th KLF-2017 (Day-2)

KLF activities continued in full swing on day-2

  • “A walk down the memory lane with legendary Shabnam” • “Book launches, Mushaira, and Voices by the Seashore”

Karachi, 11 February 2017: Literature lovers attended the second day of Karachi Literature Festival with the same enthusiasm that they showed the first day.

It started with a varied range of sessions, one of them was bringing the Past into the Present in which Dr. Framji Minwalla and Noman-ul-Haq conversed with Ayesha Jalal. “History is methodology to investigate evidence, not an ideology”, historian Ayesha Jalal defined. A professor at Tufts University in the United States, Jalal disapproved of being labeled as a historian of Pakistan alone. Further she highlighted the importance of religion and that this is what brought two nations into existence. “People have called me a historian of Pakistan but I am a historian of Southeast Asia,” stressed Jalal.

In a session on Cultural Heritage Preservation in Pakistan and South Asia, Sheema Kermani said about culture, “What we need to think about is that what exactly our cultural heritage is.We have not been able to resolve our cultural identity.” Sneak Preview of The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack by H.M. Naqvi hosted by Dr. Framji Minwalla gave us an overview of the book, the passion of the writer for this city and how he looks at the development this city and its residents have made. There were total of 11 books launched at KLF that included High-Life in Pakistan by Regula Bubb, Nobody Killed Her by Sabyn Javeri, The Party Worker by Omar Shahid Hamid,  Tum Kabeer and Qila-e-Faramoshi by Fahmida Riaz, Sadequain and the Culture of Enlightenment by Akbar Naqvi, How Pakistan Got Divided by Maj Gen ( R) Rao Farman Ali, August Voices by Sudheendra Kulkarni, Teesra Qadam by Nasira Zuberi, Kalaam-e-Aarifaan by Hasan Aziz, Crimson Papers: Reflections on Struggle, Suffering & Creativity in Pakistan by Harris Khalique and Erotext: Desire, Disease, Delusion, Dream, Downpour by Sudeep Sen.

Second Day of the event came to an end with a Mushaira in which renowned poets of the country like Kishwar Naheed, Anwar Shaoor, Fahmida Riaz, Peerzada Qasim, ImdaadHussaini,Afzal Ahmad Syed, Naseem Syed, and many more participated.

8th KLF-2017 (Day-3) 

Literary festivities end as Karachiites say adieu to 8th KLF

“The work of an artist is to spread love.” Said Nadeem Baig at Karachi Literarture Festival.

Karachi, February 12, 2017: Last day of Karachi Literature Festival started with a Video competition “Making Change in Pakistan: What Works, and What doesn’t” Winners were announced by Sarmad Khoosat, Nadeem. F Paracha, and Parvez Hoodbhoy. Faisal Raza’s documentary on transgender issues won first place.

The session “Celebrating Faiz” in which Adeel Hashmi took the opportunity to recite poetry to pay homage to his grandfather and master poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. ZehraNigah shared her views on how simple Faiz was, she mentioned that “he was very patient and was known as a man of peace, he never complained about his imprisonment or his loneliness”.

In the session on “Palestine, Syria: Where Doves Endlessly Weep” Laleh Khalili talked about the need to take a holistic approach to the understanding of the conflicts in Syria and Palestine. “There are political grievances other than geopolitical or regional problems. I can’t remember a more disparaging moment than this,” she said. Talking about stability Ashraf Jehangir Qazi said, “Palestine is worse. There is permanent, colossal tragedy that doesn’t seem to end.”

On the last day of KLF, 11 books were launched including, “Dear Heart: To Faiz in Prison, 1951-1955 and Over My Shoulder  by Alys Faiz , Daddy’s Boy by Shandana Minhas, Fasana Raqam Karain by Mujahid Barelvi, Love in Chakiwara and Other Misadventures by Bilal Tanweer, Those Children by Shahbano Bilgrami, Ajmer Sharif: Awakening of Sufism in South Asia by Reema Abbasi,  The Pakistan Anti-Hero: History of Pakistani Nationalism through the Lives of Iconoclasts by Nadeem F. Paracha, Interpreting Islam, Modernity, and Women’s Rights in Pakistan by Anita M. Weiss, Hybrid Tapestries: The Development of Pakistani Literature in English by Muneeza Shamsie, and Hindustan ki Mauseequi by Abdul Halim Sharar.

On the lighter side of KLF, viral sensation Syed Shafaat Ali engaged the audience in the main garden with his witty jests. Ali said: “This is the first time he has been invited to host a session at the Karachi Literature Festival… before this I was one of the guys who came here and stood at the back or checked out girls.” “I never knew what is KLF…yes I was one of those guys…I never thought that there’d be a time when I’d be invited on stage at KLF…and big people would come to hear me…but it happens…” he added. His mimicry of the politicians and the singers provoked laughter from the crowd.

Around 200,000 people attended KLF this year which was an achievement unlocked for the whole KLF team. Ameena Saiyid Managing Director, Oxford University Press, and Founder/Director, Karachi and Islamabad Literature Festivals, in her closing ceremony speech thanked everyone for contributing towards the success of this event.

“This is not the end but the beginning of another wonderful adventure, the preparation for the next Islamabad Literature Festival to be held at Margala Hotel on 14, 15, and 16 April 2017 and the Karachi Literature Festival ‘London’ in partnership with Bloomsbury Pakistan and Southbank Centre London on 20th May 2017.

8th Klf ended with remarkable classical dance performance by Shayma Saiyid and Suhaee Abro, a concert by Saif Samejo and dhamaal by Sufi group.

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