Karachi Literature Festival 2012

Karachi: Writings in the English language emanating from Pakistan are very dynamic and vibrant, speaking volumes for the intellectual potential the country possesses.
These views were expressed by Martin Fryer, Director Programmes of the British Council Pakistan at a press briefing to announce the holding of the third Karachi Literature Festival on February 11 and 12 at the Carlton Hotel.
The briefing was jointly hosted by the Oxford University Press and the British Council and was held at the Oxford University Press Head Office on Thursday evening.
Talking about the festival, Fryer said: "Based on the age-old cultural and literary histories as well as the creative opportunities of the moment, the Karachi Literature Festival draws upon this dynamism by bringing together writers, poets, scholars and academics from a diversity of cultures, languages, academic disciplines and intellectual traditions to create an opportunity for cultural dialogue and exchange through celebration and writing of books".
Ameena Saiyid, OBE, Managing Director Oxford University Press (Pakistan), said that apart from other things, this year's two-day festival would feature many debates on wide-ranging current regional issues.
"Through dialogues and discussions, readings and renderings, the festival is supposed to create an intellectual space in which the diversity and plurality of Pakistan's society is expressed by authors from traditions both from within and beyond the country's borders."
She said that this year's festival would feature special programmes for children, something that hitherto had not been there. These would include films and puppet shows. The festival, she said, was meant to introduce Pakistan to foreign authors and foreign authors to Pakistan.
Besides, she said that this year there would be quite a lot of emphasis on film shows and one of the films to be screened is an international prize-winning production, "Harun Arun", set against the backdrop of the partition of the sub-continent, highlighting the human angle of the watershed event in world history.
Another important organiser of the festival, noted intellectual and literary critic, Asif Aslam Farrukhi, said, "We think of the festival as a window through which the world can see and connect with the realities of Pakistan, and through which Pakistan can see what is happening in the world". The festival, he said, had a vital function.
"The strong international reputation enjoyed by so many writers from Pakistan, will, I hope, encourage a new generation of writers here to find their voice, said Shreela Ghosh from the British Council in Dhaka. She said that she was going to Afghanistan in a day or two to explore the possibilities of expanding the scope of the Council's activities there. According to her, she had been asked by many as to why she was going to Afghanistan out of all the places, to which, she replied that by fostering cultural and literary awareness of other groups and through fostering cultural harmony could they mitigate the feelings of acrimony, the misunderstandings and the misgivings that exist among various groups and hence they could go a long way in mitigating hostilities and tensions, be they regional or international.
Three important personalities that are set to feature are William Dalrymple, the UK citizen, now based in India, whose brainchild the festival really is; London-based internationally-acclaimed academic Anatol Lieven; and London-based Pakistani author Hanif Kureishi.
Saiyid said that the opening keynote address would be by William Dalrymple, and the closing one by Kureishi. Apart from the two main sponsors, the British Council and the Oxford University Press, the co-sponsors are: the US Consulate-General; Consulate-General of the Federal Republic of Germany; the University of Texas at Austin; the Goethe-Institut, Pakistan; the French Consulate-General; and the Embassy of France. The news


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