In a refreshing break from gadgets and gizmos, scores of people thronged to the National Book Day festival that concluded here on Monday. The three-day event featured over a 100 stalls, reading sessions by poets and writers including Intizar Hussain, Nazir Naji, Ahmed Aqeel Rubi and Attaul Haq Qasmi.
At Kitab Dost ceremony, the participating authors were awarded cash prizes in recognition of their contribution to the field of literature.
People of all age groups browsed through the stalls that were laden with books, pamphlets, stationary, paintings and historic photos by the National Archives. Many were seen walking out with oversized bags of books.
A poster competition titled “The book and reading in your life” encouraged children from various private and government schools to paint large posters of their favourite books.
Meanwhile, a small stall featuring historic photographs attracted some youngsters. “We have been given little space otherwise, we were planning to showcase about 3,000 pictures. We’ve even put up old letters between Quaid-e-Azam and Mountbatten,” said an archives’ official
Children presented short plays on the importance of reading. Students of Global System of Integrated Studies reenacted the historical evolution of the Urdu language, highlighting the roles of Delhi Darbar sufis and Persian poets in making it Pakistan’s national language.
Furthermore, Roots Millennium Schools System presented Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” while Mount Sinai School did a small role play on the importance of reading. In the finale, a group of performers offered a soulful rendition Waris Shah’s poetry at a “Heer Night”. The festival was organised by the National Book Foundation.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2013.