The first Adab Festival Pakistan will be held at Governor’s House on Feb 1, 2 and 3. There will be 55 sessions in the event with participation of more than 100 local and international speakers.

This was announced by founder and director of the festival Ameena Saiyid at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday evening.

Ms Saiyid said such events provided artists, writers and poets with a platform to exchange ideas and engage in healthy debates. It’s also important to introduce new writers and poets to readers, so books by new authors would also be launched at the festival.

Ms Saiyid said it was her team’s desire that the festival spread to other parts of the country and take the shape of a movement so that whoever wanted to do such programmes in other cities of the country could do so.

Ms Saiyid said: “The festival will be launched on Feb 1 at Governor’s House. For three days Governor’s House will turn into a public space. It’s the same house at which the Quaid-i-Azam took oath as governor general on Aug 14, 1947.

On the first day, the event will be open from 5pm to 9pm, while for the next two days the timing will be 11am to 9pm. Entrance will be free. More than 100 writers and poets will take part in 55 sessions in two and a half days. Arifa Syeda Zehra will speak at the inauguration while Peter Oborne will address the audience on the third day.

More than 100 poets and writers to attend the Governor’s House event spread over 55 sessions

“Some of the participants are: Iftikhar Arif, Zia Mohyeddin, Mustansar Husain Tarar, Kishwar Naheed, Mohammed Hanif, H. M. Naqvi, Zehra Nigah, Anwar Maqsood, Fawzia Afzal Khan (US), Tariq Khosa, Attiya Dawood and Nadeem Hussain.

Ian Vaughan-Arbuckle will also be coming. He was the British defence attaché in Karachi during Ayub Khan’s rule. He will talk about the Karachi of the 1960s. Richard Heller from the UK is also a participant. He will do dramatic reading of P. G. Wodehouse’s stories. Apart from that, writers and poets from all parts of Pakistan will be represented. The event will have discussions, a mushaira, comedy, book fair and other performances.”

Ms Saiyid said a Getz Pharma fiction prize will also be given to a book published in Pakistan in 2017-18, judged by a three-member of jury.

Asif Farrukhi, who is also the director and founder of the festival, said with the arrival of the New Year, it would be great that the year turned out to be a year of literary festivals. In that regard, anyone who wished to seek advice from him and Ms Saiyid, the two of them were willing to give it.

The reason that the word ‘adab’ was put in the name of the event was that it did not just have to do with literature, but had a wider meaning containing elements such as culture, values and civilisations. Amid all of that, the organisers want to celebrate and highlight the diversity and beauty of all Pakistani languages.