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KARACHI: Lovers of literature, culture and the arts will finally get the chance to interact with their favourite literary luminaries, celebrities, academics and scholars as the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) returns as a live event from March 4-6, at the Beach Luxury Hotel here. Organised by Oxford University Press (OUP), the theme of this year’s KLF is Separation, Belonging and Beyond: 75 years of Pakistan. The three-day event will explore the country’s achievements in its Diamond Anniversary year through a variety of thought-provoking panel discussions and book launches, which will be broadcast live around the world on OUP’s social media channels, and bring together over 200 national and international speakers.

Keynote speeches will be delivered by Victoria Schofield and Zia Mohyeddin at the inauguration, and Sardar Masood Khan and Hanif Kureshi at the closing ceremony.

There will be over 60 sessions, including 20 book launches (10 in Urdu and 10 in English), with speakers from five countries (Pakistan, UK, US, New Zealand and France). Visitors and the online audience will also have the chance to enjoy Urdu and English poetry readings, a Qawwali, feature film screening and the first-ever airing of a series of short films, Let’s Heal the World.

As many as 7 literary awards for Pakistani authors will be announced at the opening ceremony. The prizes will recognise pioneering work in Urdu prose and poetry, and English fiction, which are sponsored by Getz Pharma. This year, KLF is also celebrating the diversity of languages and cultures across the country by recognising the best books in Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi and Pashto languages. These awards are supported by the Little Book Company.

Speaking at a press conference at Karachi Press Club, OUP Managing Director Arshad Saeed Husain mentioned how the festival will foster an environment of openness, pluralism and intellectual discourse that will mark a refreshing change from the closures and restrictions of the pandemic.

“Our 13th KLF commemorates not only 75 years of Pakistan but also 70 years of OUP’s operations in Pakistan,” said Husain.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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