The sixth edition of the Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) kicks off at the Alhamra Arts Center, Mall Road, on Saturday, Feb. 24. The two-day event is open and free to the public.
Some of this year’s speakers include journalist and novelist David Ignatius, historian Audrey Truschke, Booker-winner Ben Okri, activist and urban theorist Arif Hasan; British-Pakistani food writer Sumayya Usmani, Iranian artist and curator Vali Malhouji, Urdu poet and scholar Iftikhar Husain, feminist poet Kishwar Naheed, Somali-British novelist Nadifa Mohamed, short-story writer and critic Aamer Hussein, award-winning Iraqi poet and novelist Sinan Antoon.
LLF 2018 will also feature Dastangoi and an evening with Zia Mohyeddin on Shakespeare.
“Since its debut edition in 2013, LLF has burnished Lahore’s primacy as the place of civilized discourse and big ideas,” said Razi Ahmed, founder and CEO of LLF. “The festival has engaged students and citizens across the country and it has celebrated thinkers, from Pakistan and abroad, in vibrant discussions across a range of themes.”
Ahmed Rashid, best-selling author of Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia and one of the organizers of LLF, says this year’s program will be as riveting as those from past editions. “LLF is excited about the world-class speakers participating this year in Lahore to deliberate on the critical issues of the day in a big-picture way,” he said.
In addition to its free annual event in Lahore, LLF has held two sold-out editions in New York in association with Asia Society and two sold-out editions in London, most recently in collaboration with the British Library. “LLF’s international editions have allowed us to showcase and celebrate Pakistan’s arts and literary traditions,” said Nusrat Jamil, one of the LLF directors. “In October, LLF in London hosted Malala, who launched her latest book there.”
LLF 2018 will feature a keynote address from Dr. Azra Raza, Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine and Director of Myelodysplastic Syndrome Center at Columbia University. Raza coauthored Ghalib: Epistemologies of Elegance with author and Yale professor Sara Suleri.
Past LLF speakers in Lahore have included Tariq Ali, Vikram Seth, Tehmina Durrani, Joe Sacco, Abdullah Hussein, Kamila Shamsie, Hari Kunzru, Intizar Hussain, Sana Mir, Romila Thapar, Asma Jahangir, Michael Palin, Mira Nair, Teju Cole, Steve Coll, Ayesha Jalal, Margaret MacMillan, Rasheed Araeen, William Dalrymple, Peter Frankopan.