By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The 12th edition of the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF), having the theme of Imagining New Frontier, has got underway digitally on March 26. It began with a documentary, showcasing highlights of the previous edition of the event founded by the Oxford University Press (OUP) in 2010.
The KLF 2021, being organized online due to the pandemic of COVID-19, is open to be accessed on their YouTube channel and Facebook page. The festival will continue until March 28.
It will feature more than 140 speakers including, Zehra Nigah, Tarik Ali, Maleeha Lodhi, Ben Okri, Ahdaf Soueif, Victoria Schofield, Ishrat Hussain,and Anita Weiss to name a few, who are representing 12 different countries including Pakistan, UK, USA, Australia, Bangladesh, Iran, Egypt, France, Germany, Dubai, India, Kenya.
There are going to be 42 sessions with debates/discussions, talks, mushairas (poetry recitals) in both Urdu and English, book launches, and readings on subjects such as education, COVID-19,science fiction, and current affairs have been lined up for the three-day festival.
The corporate support will continue with Bank of Punjab being the lead sponsor for the event while Getz Pharma will be giving away literary prizes sponsored by them in the categories of Urdu Prose, Urdu Poetry and English Fiction.
The pandemic has compelled us to imagine new frontiers of medicine, vaccines, digital learning and working from home. The pandemic has brought world closer together to find out of the box creative solutions. Vaccines have been developed in record time, schools have overcome lock downs through technology and use of electronic mediums. We need to re-imagine safe work environment whether in office, home or in schools. The world is already re-structuring delivery methods with digital and blended tools of learning, Arshad Saeed Husain, Managing Director, OUP, observed.
It was stated that the aims of the current virtual edition of KLF remained the same as the previous ones which were to develop interaction between writers, intellectuals, and artists within Pakistan and across borders, cultures, and languages, and to nurture and promote books and inculcate the habit of reading. Despite the pandemic, the virtual edition will continue to put Pakistan on the map as a country rich in culture, creativity, and exchange of ideas and opinions.