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The three-day Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) will begin on March 1 as a platform to explore the fundamental question what's going to happen to books, literature, publishing and reading in the days to come.

"The KLF is heritage of Oxford University Press and we aim to bring forward its international and cosmopolitan flair through an exciting line-up of speakers, authors, book launches, English poetry readings, Urdu mushairas, satire, performing arts, and film screenings," said OUP Managing Director Arshad Saeed Husain, here on Tuesday.

Sharing salient features of the 10th KLF that will culminate on March 3, he asserted that Karachiites would enjoy literature, art, culture, dialogue, and debate at the event to be held at the hotel where it had been held every year for almost a decade.

"The KLF is not just an event but it's a celebration of literature, books, reading, performing arts, culture and diversity," he said, adding that launching ceremonies of the books: The Economy of Modern Sindh; The Begum: A Portrait of Ra'ana Liaquat Ali Khan; Pakistan's Radioactive Decade; and Defiance of the Rose: Selected Poems of Perveen Shakir, would also be part of the KLF.

Other events will include: The session with talented youth in 'Nayee Nasl ki Awaz: Kal Hamara Hai.' The Karachi Dilemma: Conservation or Evolution'; 'Urdu Theatre: Kal, Aaj aur Kal'; 'Pakistani Cinema: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow'; 'Publishing 2020 and Beyond: New Trends, Digitization and Technology'; and 'Rethinking Education in the Fast-Changing World'. Five Pakistani documentaries featured in this year's festival are: 'City by the Sea: The Future of Karachi's Coastline'; 'Qalandar Code-Rise of the Divine Feminine'; 'Indus Blues: Pakistani Folk Artists and Their Struggle to Keep a Fading Art Form Alive' (Pakistan premiere); and 'These Silences Are All the Words.' A short film on a transgender Pakistani woman titled 'Rani' will also be screened at the Festival.

The OUP MD said that the KLF-Infaq Foundation Urdu Literature Prize of Rs 200,000 would be awarded to the best book of prose or poetry in Urdu. The books short-listed for the prize include Northern Command by Sami Ahuja (published by Sanjh Publications); Qila-e-Faramoshi by Fahmida Riaz (published by Oxford University Press); Rooh-e-Qadeem ki Qasam by Sabir Zafar (published by Rang Adab Publications).

Qawwali by Hamza Akram and Brothers and Pepsi Battle of the Bands will also be there. Around 220 Pakistani and 15 international authors and speakers from ten countries will be participating. Deborah Baker and I.A. Rehman will be the keynote speakers at the inaugural ceremony while Ishrat Husain and Iftikhar Arif will address closing ceremony. In all, 20 book launches and more than 80 sessions will be held.

Arshad Saeed Husain noted that the KLF had seen huge participation in the past as attendance rose from roughly 5,000 in 2010 to 200,000 in 2018.

The 10th KLF will see participation of well-known figures from Pakistan and abroad: Adrian Husain, Ahmed Shah, Ali Usman Qasmi, Amar Jaleel, Amar Sindhu, Amin Gulgee, Anwar Maqsood, Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Asif Noorani, Atiya Khan, Attiya Dawood, Azra Abbas, Baela Raza Jamil, Bilquis Edhi, Ghazi Salahuddin, H.M. Naqvi, Hafiz A. Pasha, Hameed Akhund, Harris Khalique, Haseena Moin, Huma Baqai, I.A. Rehman, Iftikhar Arif, Ikram Sehgal, Imrana Maqsood, Ishrat Husain, Jami Chandio, Javed Jabbar, Khaled Anam, Kishwar Naheed, Marina Khan, Mujahid Barelvi, Muneeza Shamsie, Murad Moosa Khan, Nadeem Farooq Paracha, Noorul Huda Shah, Sabyn Javeri, Sajid Hasan, Shafqat Ali Shah Jamote, Shamshad Akhtar, Shazia Hasan, Sheema Kermani, Syed Nomanul Haq, Wusatullah Khan, Yasmeen Hameed, Zia Mohyeddin. Anita Weiss, Deborah Baker and Blair Glencorse from US, David C. Heath from UK, Mona Eltahawy from Canada, David Waterman from France; Elena Nicolai from Italy, Aysha Baqir from Singapore and Leila Aboulela from Sudan will also participate in KLF.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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