KLF 2022 concludes with dramatic readings, insightful talks, classical music

Literary fest was held at Beach Luxury Hotel
Mar 07, 2022

The 13th Karachi Literature Festival came to a close on Sunday at the Beach Luxury Hotel after three days of readings, book signings, panel discussions and classical music.

The three-day festival (March 4 to March 6) was inaugurated by President Dr Arif Alvi and featured addresses by a number of prominent names, including acclaimed Zia Mohyeddin and historian Victoria Schofield.

The KLF 2022 shed light on “Pakistan’s achievements, its shortcomings, and its prospects”.

The festival celebrated national and international authors, artists, scholars, and featured talks, debates, and mushairas in English and regional languages.

Masks along with proof of vaccination were mandatory at the venue. It could also be attended live on Facebook and KLF’s official website.

Source: Online

Taha Kehar, author of Typically Tanya as well as a moderator and panelist at this year’s edition, called physically attending the KLF a “delightful experience”.

“Over the last 13 years, the literary extravaganza has managed to carve a unique space in the city for discussions on culture and creativity,” Taha said while speaking to SAMAA Digital.

“Such initiatives are futile in the absence of public gatherings. After the pandemic, the world has relied heavily on digital platforms to provide an alternative avenue for a healthy debate."

Taha added that although the KLF organisers adapted to the changing circumstances and triumphantly conducted the previous edition of the festival online, the digital sphere couldn’t replicate the magnetic pull of face-to-face interactions.

“As a panelist in a few sessions, I found it exhilarating to engage with audiences who were seated in front of me; it made the discussions seem more intimate and less lonesome.”

As for the audience, Taha said that it was significantly better than he had expected.

“I suppose people were eager to attend an event at a physical venue,” Taha remarked.

Source: Online

“It has been far too long. Many people have been cooped up at home. Such events have been a saving grace.”

Author Muhammad Ali Samejo remarked that it didn't look like the pandemic had had any effect on the festival.

"Much like the Karachi International Book Fair that happened in January, the KLF saw a throng of people right from the get-go on Friday," Samejo said. "The interactive discussions and presentations had packed audiences and everyone had a haul of books as they came out. Mind you, the mask requirements were a tad lax, especially after they entered the venue."

This was Samejo's first visit to the KLF as a published author. His book Legends of Karachi was recently published by Liberty Publishing.

"The fact that it happened after becoming a published author was a landmark event for me, though I don't think it would have had the same impact for new authors who didn't have their publishers participating," Samejo said. "There were several major and up-and-coming publishing houses so it looked like that everyone was getting the right kind of exposure. Personally, I loved the amount of support and hard work put in by my publisher Liberty Publishing."

Book launches, film screenings and readings were part of the festival as well.

Khel Khel Mein, starring Sajal Ali and Bilal Abbas, was featured at the festival. Director and co-writer Nabeel Qureshi and producer Fizza Ali Meerza, who are credited with the revival of Pakistani film industry with hit films such as Na Maloom Afraad, Actor in Law and Na Maloom Afraad 2, opened up about Khel Khel Mein, which is set against the backdrop of the War of 1971 (Fall of Dhaka).

Photo: KLF

“We had this idea for a very long time to make something on Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is quite a controversial topic here for a lot of reasons and isn’t talked about much. You’ll find a lot of things about Pakistan and India – stories from the Partition and wars – but not much was said about the war of 1971. Then in 2019, we went to the UK to see a cricket match between Pakistan and Bangladesh and we noticed an intense tussle. We thought that was really interesting.”

“Why can’t we just talk about it again?” asked Fizza Ali Meerza. “Why not apologise and get back together? Why should we just block it where it was? We talked about it and there was a lot of controversy. But we talked about it and because of that we are talking about it right now. This is the idea of the film.”

Highlights from the third day of the festival included a talk titled Meri Marzi by playwright Anwar Maqsood and a discussion on Omar Shahid’s book Betrayal, Reimagining Pakistan’s School Education and a discussion on the evolution of drama in Pakistan. Sultana Siddiqui, Ahmed Ali Akber, Ushna Shah, Marina Khan and Munawar Saeed were on the panel.

Photo: KLF

The closing ceremony featured addresses by British playwright Hanif Kureishi and former Azad Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan followed by a performance by Qawwals Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad.

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