Literary fests are coming up in new cities every year, in India. But in Pakistan, it was their first. Yeah, the very first Literary Fest in the country. It took place on last Saturday and Sunday. It was jointly organised by the Oxford University Press and the British Council. The idea came to them after attending the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in 2009.
It was sprinkled by literati from the subcontinent and elsewhere. There were noted poetess and activist, Fehmida Riaz, Intizar Hussain, Adrian Hussain, Mohammed Hanif, debut novelist H M Naqvi, translator M A Farooqi, British biographer Victoria Scofield and Australian travel writer Sara McDonald. Urdu poet Shamsur Rahman Faruqi stole the show with mushaira, or reading poetry. Writing in English was most focused on, with a good smattering of Hindi and Urdu works.
There were workshops, reading sessions, Q and A sessions, book reads and discussions, and a lot of cultural activities at the event. Dancer Sheema Kirmani and her troupe presented the ballet, The song of Moenjodaro, a look into a love story that took place five-thousand years.
This two-day festival ended on a note by the organisers to make it an annual event. Literature can be used in this terror-stricken country to bring peoples, cultures and ideas together.