Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director of Oxford University Press, Pakistan (OUP), has just announced in Karachi that to celebrate 70 years of Pakistan’s creation, Pakistan’s biggest literary event, the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF), which her company produces, will be launched in London on 20 May 2017 at a prestigious arts centre, the Southbank Centre, as part of their Alchemy festival – an annual festival celebrating the rich cultural relationship between the UK and South Asia.
KLF London promises to be a vibrant celebration of Pakistani literature and arts. Ameena highlighted that, with its creative culture and range of diverse communities, London is the ideal city for KLF to launch itself outside Pakistan. The event will be a great opportunity for Londoners, particularly London’s significant population of people of South Asian origin, to gain an insight into the region’s complex history and culture as expressed through its literature and arts.
An exciting programme of panel discussions, mushaira (poetry readings by groups of poets), and performances is planned for the London edition of KLF. The festival will feature a line-up of around 70 leading Pakistani-origin and international writers, scholars, critics, journalists, and artists. Around 20 sessions showcasing Pakistan’s rich history, literature, and culture are planned. Children’s events will also be included.
Ameena announced the bestselling author and journalist, Mohammed Hanif, will be the keynote speaker at the festival’s opening event. Others participating include: Aamer Hussein, Asif Kapadia, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Bina Shah, Claire Chambers, Faris Kermani, Farooq Bajwa, Fifi Haroon, H. M. Naqvi, Imtiaz Dharker, Ishrat Husain, Kamila Shamsie, Kamran Asdar Ali, Khaled Anam, Laurent Gayer, Maheen Khan, Maleeha Lodhi, Mirza Waheed, Moni Mohsin, Mukulika Banerjee, Nasrin Mahmud Kasuri, Nimra Bucha, Omar Shahid Hamid, Owen Bennett-Jones, Qaisra Shahraz, Rehan Sheikh, Sarah Ansari, Shayma Saiyid, Sherry Rehman, Shuja Nawaz,Taimur Rahman, Urvashi Butalia, Victoria Schofield, Zaffar Kunial, Zehra Nigah, and Ziauddin Sardar. Musical performances by Khumariyaan and Saif Samejo are scheduled for the evening.
KLF London sessions will cover themes of migration and displacement in novels; women and transgender rights, geopolitical challenges facing Pakistan; Pakistan’s education system; gender and class divide in Pakistan; challenges faced by Urdu as a national language; Partition stories; influence of social media on Pakistan’s politics; and challenges facing diaspora Pakistanis in Europe.