In a bid to strengthen its positions as ‘Cultural Hub of Pakistan’, Lahore is planning to hold the first every Literary Festival from 23 February 2013. The festival has been planned to bring together, discuss and celebrate the diverse and pluralistic literary tradition of Pre-Partition Lahore which distinguished Lahore as the city of arts, activism, and big ideas. The literary tradition has continued in Lahore after partition of subcontinent and has enabled Lahore to become cultural centre for Punjab and whole Pakistan.
Lahore has historically been the centre of attention in Northern India since the time of Mughal Emperors who made it Capital of their Empire. Since then it has remained the largest and most active metropolitan in subcontinent even during the times of Sikh Empire and British Kingdom. It has also been depicted in several literary classics such as Milton’s Paradise Lost, Kipling’s Kim and John Masters’ Bhowani Junction.
Lahore Literary Festival will continue for two days at Alhamra and will feature panel discussions on Urdu and English literature and book reading. Several modern and classic topics including Courtesan in Urdu Novels, Legacy of Autobiographies, Urdu Writing’s Future in the Punjab, Discovering Pakistan’s English-Language Poetry, Challenges of Language and Storytelling in the 21st Century. A huge number Pakistani and International laureates are expected to take part in discussion including Ahmed Rashid, Bapsi Sidhwa, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Linda Bird Francke, Mohsin Hamid, Salima Hashmi, Tariq Ali, Tehmina Durrani and Zehra Nigah.
City District Government has made special arrangements for this event and a vast array of arts and literature students from different colleges and universities are also expected to attend the event. Volunteers have been called for to assist the Alhamra authorities in organizing the event. Exact schedule for the festival event has not been finalized yet and is expected to be released soon. City District Government has decided to sell tickets for the events which will be available by 15th February.
As per chairperson of the Lahore Literary Festival Advisory Board ‘The event is being viewed as is a long-term initiative, which will enrich the literary and cultural landscape of Lahore every year.’ The event will also try to divert the focus of citizens from the ongoing political and security situation to Literature, art, architecture, culture, and music.