The Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) takes place in New York City on May 7 and 8.
The two-day ticketed event, LLF in New York, is co-presented with Asia Society and will be hosted at 725 Park Avenue.
“For four years now, we’ve had the privilege of bringing some of the most creative and insightful voices in the world to Pakistan’s cultural capital to engage with our writers, artists and audiences,” says Razi Ahmed, LLF’s founder and CEO, “we are delighted now to be taking some of Pakistan’s finest to the creative capital of the U.S.”
LLF in New York, part of a three-year partnership with Asia Society, will feature panel discussions with Pakistani writers, artists and opinion leaders, including Ahmed Rashid, Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Bapsi Sidhwa, Dr. Azra Raza, Salima Hashmi, Salman Toor, Sarmad Khoosat, Syed Babar Ali, Tahira Naqvi; other speakers include Amin Jaffer, Francis Pritchett, Hugh Eakin, Roger Cohen. It will also feature performances by Zeb and Haniya and qawwali by the Saami Brothers.
This is the first time that a Pakistani literary festival is taking place abroad. India’s Jaipur Literature Festival has been annually showcasing writers and artists through a one-day program at London’s Southbank Center since 2014.
LLF’s fourth annual edition took place in Lahore on Feb. 20 and 21. Since its debut in 2013, the festival has garnered glowing coverage for Pakistan in the foreign press. The New York Times has called it “a wonder of creativity, eclecticism, ideas and dialogue” and the BBC has cited it as “a celebration of a Pakistan open and engaged with the many ideas of many worlds.”
The New York edition is generating keen interest in Pakistan and abroad. “Don’t miss the amazing Lahore Literary Festival at Asia Society,” Marc-André Franche, country director for the UNDP in Pakistan, posted on Facebook. Experience “ambassadors of culture, analysis and literature, all the good and hope for a better Pakistan!”
Tickets, which cost between $20 and $25, are sold out. The event can be viewed live on webcast. (All four Lahore editions have been free.)
Patrons of LLF in New York include Maleeha Lodhi, Aneela Shah, Nusrat Jamil, Hameed Haroon, Nighat and Syed Yawar Ali, Sadia and Osman Waheed, Razak Dawood, Maniza Naqvi, Nasreen and Khurshid Kasuri, Spenta Kandawalla, and Farrokh Captain. The event is privately funded.
LLF, founded in 2012, is a nonprofit initiative incorporated in Pakistan under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Asia Society, founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III, is a nonpartisan and nonprofit educational organization that aims at fostering understanding and partnerships between Asian and American people and institutions. LLF in New York is part of Asia Society’s Creative Voices of Muslim Asia initiative, which uses the arts as a springboard to understand the diversity of Islam as a creative inspiration.