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Lahore Literature Festival helps in keeping the literary world in the country alive

Editorial February 24, 2019

With the world now obsessed with technology and innovation, little space is left for literature to thrive — in fact, to even survive. Nowadays, habits and hobbies are driven by passion for money and wealth.

The love for literature — scantily capable of bringing affluence for catering to the modern-day material needs — is dimming, therefore. With the cultural coffeehouses forced to give way to lavish business centres and residential high-rises, the need to foster love for fiction and nurture habits of reading and writing was never ever felt so seriously.

The Lahore Literature Festival, thus, comes up as a big hope. Its seventh edition drawing a sizeable crowd and bringing academics and intellectuals under one roof, is indeed heartening. The three-day festival that started on Friday is garnering more and more respect each year and making a significant contribution to keeping the literary world in the country alive.

“Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s life and legacy as narrated by Zehra Nigah” was what graced the opening of the LLF at Alhmara this year. Zehra Nigah treated the audience with an Urdu essay about her impressions of the great poet, whose “expressions and emotions flew freely and while he was able to engage his reader, he also illustrated the times he lived in”. True that every poet at some point of his or her life wishes to write at least a couple of lines in the style of Faiz.

The LLF also attracted people from abroad. The festival has had successful editions in London and New York and is playing a significant role in promoting people-to-people contact across countries.

British High Commissioner Thomas Drew agreed to the view, with remarks that culture and literature are bringing Pakistan and Britain together. In the words of theatre producer Rachel Cooper of Asia Society, also present at the event, the LLF is “an important way of showing Lahore as a city and Pakistan as a whole in a global context”.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2019.

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