The sixth Islamabad Literature Festival is ready to kick off in September

Published 29 Aug, 2019 11:58am

150 speakers from six different countries will participate in 52 sessions at the festival

More than 150 speakers will participate in 52 sessions at the sixth Islamabad Literature Festival, scheduled to be held next month after a year and a half hiatus.

A press conference on the event, which is organised by the Oxford University Press (OUP), was held on Wednesday.

It was announced that the three-day festival will feature nine speakers from six different countries, although the participation of an Indian writer is uncertain. Eight books will be launched.

Such festivals are held around the world, renowned poet Iftikhar Arif said.

He added: “However, in Pakistan the OUP literary festival is the only festival that attracts a large number of people, families, diplomats and parliamentarians. Moreover, participants come from different continents.”

Writer and poet Kishwar Naheed said people want to attend such events, and she hoped that a large number of people will participate this year.

“Though writers like Abdullah Hussain, Intizar Hussain, Fahmida Riaz and others are no more with us, their writings will be available at ILF. I also suggest that books should be sold on discounted or sensational prices,” she said.

Poet Harris Khaleeq said a session on nuclearisation in South Asia, in connection with the Kashmir issue, will be organised at ILF. “Sessions on regional languages will also be held,” he said.

According to research, people learn more from books than browsing, Prof Hameed Shahid said. He said parents should encourage his children to read books rather than learning through browsing.

OUP Managing Director Arshad Saeed Hussain said sessions on Sept 27 will be held from 5pm to 8:30pm, but sessions over the weekend will be held between 11am and 8:15pm. Entry to the festival will be free.

Mr Hussain said that Deepa Agarwal, a writer of Indian origin who has authored a book along with Pakistani writer Tehmina Aziz, has been invited but may not attend due to the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan. Their book, on Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan, will be launched at ILF.

He said writers from the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, Russia and Sri Lanka will contribute to the event.

Originally published in Dawn, August 29th, 2019