KARACHI: The second Karachi Literature Festival, a joint feature of the Oxford University Press (OUP) and the British Council, concluded at a local hotel here on Sunday.The festival was organised to encourage the Pakistani authors and urge youth to boost their relation towards the literature, as it is the only solution to the prevailing situations in Pakistan.Besides, a large number of book stalls, various panel discussions, book launching ceremonies, workshops, Mushairas, lectures and performances over several issues related to literature were held at the festival.OUP Managing Director Ameena Saiyid brought the idea of holding the Karachi Literature Festival from the Jaipur Literary Festival in 2009, which was attended by her and then she decided to do the same work in the mega city of Karachi.Various prominent literary figures, including the United States based Pakistani writer, Zulfiqar Ghaus, Bina Shah, Kamila Shamsie, Danial Moinuddin, Mohsin Hamid, Intizar Husain, Iftikhar Arif, Sahar Ansari, Zehra Nigah, Asad Khan and others bestowed grace to the festival.Key speaker and personality in the festival was Karen Armstrong. Formerly, she was a nun but now the world knows her as an author and scholar. “Comparative religions” is her area of interest and she is also declared authority on it. She launched a book entitled “Twelve steps to compassion” at this festival.British Council Deputy Director Martin Fryer, USAID Chief in Pakistan Marilyn Wyatt, Susan Harville Cultural Affairs Officer in the US Consulate General in Karachi, prominent author Karen Armstrong, OUP MD Ameena Saiyid and others expressed their views in the opening and closing sessions of the festival.Speakers shed light on the importance of literature in life of nations. They termed the event as an opportunity for Pakistani youth to connect themselves with the world of literature.
The Karachi Literature Festival provided a platform for discussion over trends, values and thoughts in order to enlighten the minds of people, they said. They stressed the need to organise such type of educational and literary events to tackle the rising unrest and negative trends persisting in the society. It is pertinent to mention here that from across the world, more than 100 authors participated at this festival.To boost the trends among youth towards literature, the organisers had announced a short story writing competition. In this regard, selected participants were offered to participate at a creative writing workshop.The OUP wants to expand the effects of Karachi Literature Festival, so it is intended to also organise this event across Pakistan. Another competition was announced to give this festival a new name, having national touch.A reward of Rs 100,000 was granted to the best non-fiction book published in 2010 in English by any Pakistani based author. The jury comprised Zubeida Mustafa, Ghazi Salahuddin and Dr Jaffer Ahmad. As 2011, the eve of100th birth anniversary of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, has been declared as the year of the great poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Karachi Literature Festival also gave tribute to him – Dailytimes