Karachi Literature Festival 2017 signs off with record attendance

Bringing together diverse genres and languages this edition has something for everyone appealing to all tastes

Nadia Faisal

The eighth edition of the Literature Festival, confirming its status among the city’s most eagerly awaited literary events, ended on Sunday with a record participation of nearly 2 lakh people during three days.

The annual occasion, which drew to a close last night, attracting record crowds, has seen a consistent rise in attendance over the years starting from a mere 5,000 back in 2010. Open and free to all, its star-studded lineup featuring celebrities from Shabnam, Nadeem, and Mustafa Qureshi to Bushra Ansari, and literary greats like Mushtaq Ahmed Yousafi, Mustansar Hussain Tarrar, Ayesha Jalal, Muneeza Shamsie and so many more this year, also reaffirms its importance as a premiere literary affair in Karachi’s cultural and social calendar.

The latest edition, welcoming 200 speakers and performers for its 75 sessions from all provinces of the country as well as abroad, has been the most successful in its 7-year history, says the managing director of Oxford University Press Ameena Saiyid who is also the festival founder and has been directing the yearly event since its inception in March 2010. Thrilled with the event’s success this year Saiyid attributes the record numbers and packed sessions to the variety in programming and lineup. Bringing together diverse genres and languages this edition has something for everyone appealing to all tastes which makes the 3-day celebration as their best yet, explains the director.

With More than 100 who spoke, performed or entertained in front of packed audiences in the 36 sessions, ‘Cinemas across the border’ turned out to be one of the many notable delights of the third and last day. A part of the interesting and at times heated discussion that took place, Mumbai-based entertainment writer Priyanka Jha was of the opinion that creating space for people to people dialogue and talks like these is the only way forward.

Amidst book fans who flocked to the session, Muneeza Shamsie’s book launch was another highlight of the last day. A writer, critic, biographer and author Shamsie who is also known to be an authority on Pakistani English Literature spoke at length about the extensive work and research that went into her latest endeavour titled Hybrid Tapestries. Tracing the narrative of its multiple origins the book is an extensive historical map of Pakistani English literature, adds Shamsie while greeting her fans and signing the book for them.

Surprised and hugely grateful for the enthusiastic support of the local community gathering from all across the city, the co-founder of the KLF Asif Farrukhi also spoke about the vibrantly diverse line-up showcased this year. Delighted and humbled by the glowing reviews and success of the eighth edition, Furrukhi who is also an author, critic and translator of repute, looks forward to striving for a better, bigger and equally diverse feast of literature next year.

Celebrating 70 years of Pakistan’s independence through its rich, ancient and diverse cultures and literature, the 8th Karachi Literature festival wrapped up with classical performance and a musical concert on Sunday evening at the Beach Luxury Hotel.