The second Karachi literature festival showcasing the vast, though mostly latent, pool of literary and intellectual talent in the country and the Pakistani diaspora overseas is all set to be held on the 5th and 6th of the current month. The festival is being held under the joint aegis of the British Council and the Oxford University Press (OUP) at the Carlton Hotel.
Addressing a joint press conference, a curtain raiser, at the OUP head office on Monday afternoon, Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director OUP (Pakistan); Syed Mashood Rizvi, Director British Council (Sindh, Balochistan); and Dr Asif Aslam Farrukhi highlighted the aims and objectives of the festival and said that the main purpose of the event was to promote and project Pakistani writers both here and worldwide.
Ameena Saiyid, the first one to address the conference, said that the very fact that there were so many prominent writers and litterateurs in Pakistan was a sign of life, hope and growth for society. “The author, the playwright, and the biographer have a great contribution to make to our society and we are holding the festival to honour them and bring them closer to the readers,” Mrs Saiyid said. In this context, she mentioned the book “Twelve steps to compassion” by Karen Armstrong, a former nun and an authority on comparative religions, which will be launched at the festival. “It is going to be a truly international festival”, Mrs Saiyid said.
Syed Mashood Rizvi said: “After the success of the first festival last year, which was attended by 3,000 people and received accolades the world over, we are hoping for and aiming at a much bigger show this time.”
He said that the sponsors planned to make it an annual activity meant to show the world that extremism was not all there was to Pakistan and that there was absolutely no shortage of intellect, progressive thinking and literary talent. He said that one of the objectives of the festival was to dispel the many misconceptions about the Pakistani youths’ disillusionment.
Dr Asif Aslam Farrukhi, dwelt on Karachi’s connection with literature and in this context mentioned authors like Kamila Shamsie, Mohsin Aamir, and some others. He said that the literary endeavour of Karachi was not confined to just literature in English. He also highlighted the role of Urdu literature in combating extremism. The second day of the festival, he said, would feature Faiz celebrations. Among others, Karen Armstrong, Kamila Shamsie, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Sara Suleri Goodyear and Kishwar Naheed will be the highlights at the festival. The festival is open to the public.