The 13th edition of the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF), the flagship literary initiative of the Oxford University Press (OUP) Pakistan, kicked off today with its all colour, excitement and salient features. Pakistan President Dr Arif Alvi was the chief guest at the inauguration ceremony.
In his address, President Dr Arif Alvi said literature festivals such as the KLF and many others around the country should be a key part of Pakistan’s cultural calendar.
Highlighting the significance of books, Dr Arif Alvi spoke of the importance of reading, and how a good book often made him feel that life was too short to truly appreciate the value of cultivating a regular reading habit. He emphasised the significance of dialogue, debate and discussion in creating a tolerant society and highlighted the importance of morality in ensuring justice around the world.
The 13th edition of the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) is an illustrious three-day event being held on 4, 5, and 6 March at the Beach Luxury Hotel. The theme of this year’s KLF is Separation, Belonging and Beyond: 75 years of Pakistan.
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In his inaugural address, Oxford University Press Pakistan Managing Director Mr Arshad Saeed Husain shed light on the essence of the theme of this year’s KLF.
Mr Husain said: “Since our founding, our quest for progress has helped us shape and define our identity and place in the world. That is the essence of the word ‘belonging’ in our theme. This year’s festival represents an examination of our past, our steps to achieve our founder’s vision as well as our continuing efforts to thrive as a nation despite many challenges – internal and external.”
After a brief outline of OUP’s key achievements since its founding in Pakistan 70 years ago, Mr Husain explained the significance of the word ‘beyond’ in the context of OUP’s commitment to serving Pakistan’s education system.
He said: “The history of our Pakistan Branch is closely matched with Pakistan’s arc of progress. We are playing a key role in the promotion and introduction of online learning and digital education, which were a vital part of our response to the pandemic. OUP has been integral to each and every child’s learning pathway since Pakistan’s inception and we pledge to continue towards the prosperity and success of our nation.”
E. Dr Christian Turner CMG, British High Commissioner to Pakistan, spoke about the depth of the ties between the two countries and how he was often correcting misperceptions about the Pakistan.
The event’s inaugural ceremony also saw speeches from renowned thespian Zia Mohyeddin, OUP Managing Director, Education, Fathima Dada, and Victoria Schofield, a leading author and historian on Pakistan.
Several book awards were announced at the event. These include:
- KLF-Getz Pharma English Fiction Prize: Little America by Zain Saeed
- KLF-Getz Pharma Urdu Prose Prize: Dubedha by Asim Bakhshi
- KLF-Getz Pharma Urdu Poetry Prize: Khwab Aatay Howay Sunai Deeay by Salim Kausar
- KLF-The Little Book Company Best Book Prizes for:
o Sindhi: Wathi Har Har Janam Warbo: Biography of Mohammad Jummon Darbadar by Ali Zahid
o Balochi: Hanif Naam by Dr Haneef Shareef
o Punjabi: Dooji Ghalti by Ali Anwar Ahmed
o Pashto: Chaadar by Noorul Amin Yousafzai
KLF Title Sponsor Bank of Punjab’s Farid Ahmed Khan spoke about his institution’s support for arts around the country and its role in creating a vibrant society.
The following two days of the festival will comprise eventful days of over 60 panel discussions, 20 book launches (10 in English and 10 in Urdu), a mushaira, qawwali, dramatic readings, a film screening and a variety of performances. The event will also have a special food court and a book fair for the avid book worms of the city.