South Asia Institute Co-Sponsors Karachi Literature Festival
February 11-12th, 2012 • Carton Hotel, Karachi
Posted: February 2, 2012
Launched in 2010, the annual two-day Karachi Literature Festival is open to all and free. The first of its kind in Pakistan, it brings together and celebrates Pakistani and international authors writing in languages such as Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, English, German, and French. It features creative writing workshops, debates/discussions, lectures, Mushaira (Urdu poetry jam), a book fair, book launches, readings, signings, interactive storytelling for children, music/theatre performances, and more.
Founded by Ameena Saiyid obe and Asif Farrukhi, and organized by the British Council and Oxford University Press, the Festival has grown rapidly. Attendance rose from roughly 5,000 in 2010 to 10,000 in 2011. While the 2010 Festival had at most two simultaneous sessions, with a total of 35 programmed participants, the 2011 Festival had up to four with 97; in 2012 we are expecting about 145 programmed participants. Each year the participants have been outstanding. Keynote addresses were given by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi in 2010, Karen Armstrong in 2011, and William Dalrymple will deliver the keynote address in 2012.
In 2011, the Karachi Literature Festival Prize of Rs 100,000 was given to a Pakistani/Pakistani-origin author for the best non-fiction book in English, published in 2010. The jury consisted of Zubeida Mustafa, Ghazi Salahuddin, and Dr Jaffer Ahmad. The winner was Ilhan Niaz for The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan 1947–2008.
The Karachi Literature Festival also celebrates music, dance, and theatre arts, which are often connected to literature. The 2010 Festival featured nightly performances by Tehrik-e-Niswan of ‘A Song of Mohenjodaro’ (dance drama) and an Urdu play. The 2011 Festival began with a homage to Amir Khusro by Sheema Kermani’s group, featured Ajoka Theater’s performances of sections of Shahid Nadeem’s Bulha (Punjabi play) and Dara (Urdu play) and culminated with a tribute to Faiz Ahmed Faiz in the year of his 100th birth anniversary. The Faiz tribute featured literary and music favourites like Zehra Nigah, Tina Sani, Laal (band), Raza Rumi, and Ali Sethi.
In 2012 we are introducing film screenings to our diverse line-up of events, followed by discussion/Q&A. This year we’re also featuring puppet and muppet shows for children by the Rafi Peer group (all day, everyday), a satire session with Saad Haroon, Ali Aftab Saeed (Beygairat Brigade), and Banana News Network (BNN), and performances by Nritaal and Salman Ahmed of Junoon.