Literature Festival to be open to public

‘We want Lahore to transform into a global thinking hub’.

Aroosa Shaukat February 20, 2014
‘We want Lahore to transform into a global thinking hub’. PHOTO: FILE


The Lahore Literary Festival, opening on Friday, will be hosting more than 60 sessions over three days.

The organisers of the festival had initially announced that some sessions would be ticketed. The LLF Advisory Committee for this year then said that all sessions would be open to the public.

“Initially we had thought that the big names making it to the event would attract a large number of people, which would flood the sessions”, journalist and author Ahmed Rashid, also a member of the advisory committee, told The Express Tribune. He said that after much deliberation, they decided not to control the crowd through ticketing. He said they would try to accommodate as many people as possible.

Nusrat Jamil, another committee member, said “In most parts of the world there are always some ticketed sessions for high profile speakers”. She said this enabled the organisers to recover some expenses. Official figures from LLF 2013 indicated that almost 30,000 people had attended the festival last year, and the organisers said they were hoping for a larger turnout this year. Jamil said that with as many as 100 Pakistani and foreign panellists participating, the festival was bound to be bigger and better than last year, which featured 60 panellists. Jamil said additional features this year included art exhibitions, music and other literary activities.

Jamil said the provincial government had offered the organisers unprecedented support in facilitating the festival. “The Alhamra Arts Council has been especially revamped for us, including new toilets, carpets, and repairs”, she said.  She said the government would be providing security arrangements to the guests.

Jamil said she hoped that Lahoris would take ownership of the festival.  “It is only the second year of the festival but we hope to keep improving. Forgive the glitches and enjoy the diversity”, she said.

Ahmed a said the committee decided upon the theme of the festival based on popular global trends and issues. “Whether it is the Arab Spring, South Asian politics or the evolution of literature globally, we have tried to put in all emerging themes in the festival”, said Rahid. Rashid said “We want Lahore to transform into a global thinking hub, a place where cultural interaction and exchange of ideas can and does take place”.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2014.


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