Walk with us! Around the Karachi Literature Festival

Oh man this post had to be up a week ago but work and this no-carb diet is making us more lazier than usual. But today we have a fun one.

Atiya: The Karachi Literature Festival was this past weekend and yours truly was on a panel to inspire the youth! It is always humbling whenever I am asked to do something like this because the people with me on the panel are smarter and so inspiring that I was left asking, what am I doing here? But, it is always nice to be seen as someone who can give some direction to young people no matter how small. Anyway, let’s start our walk, shall we?


The Karachi Literature Festival is in it’s seven year and while I can’t exactly say that each year it gets better and better, there is a commitment to attend because it is one of the biggest cultural events of the year. I haven’t been in two years because I was abroad but this time around I loved the way the festival was laid out with a separate food court area, book fair and lounge for the delegates and panelists. It made the small area less crowded and easier to navigate.


Amna beat me in the session attending by going to three while I was only able to go to one. The rest of the time I was volunteering at the Desi Writers’ Lounge (DWL) stall, where I helped with literary games and tell festival-goers what the DWL was all about. Hey, check out our website! #shamelessplug.



Amna: I went to this amazing session where this artist Zohaib Kazi was interviewed about his book ‘Ismail Ka Urdu Sheher’ which is an illustrated sci-fi novel and music album. I absolutely love such projects that mesh music and visual art together to get you more involved into the book’s own world. The animated music video they showed at the session was brilliant and I eventually bought the book; actually 2 copies, one was for my aunt. The music album is beautiful and compliments the story very well. For all sci-fi lovers out there, I highly recommend this book.


Another session I attended was called ‘The Art of Now’ which was an interview of the talented artist couple Imran Qureshi and Aisha Khalid. I was especially excited to see this session because Imran Qureshi was my professor at the National College Of Art and even though I knew most of what they were going to say, it was a pleasure to listen to his and his wife’s journey as renowned artists of Pakistan again.


Our pretty merchandise at the DWL stall was snapped up by eager aspiring writers ^_^

Overall, I think this year was better planned logistically even though, content-wise most of the sessions failed to be interesting. There are always the usual uncles who have more long-winded speeches then legit questions or panels that are not even about the topic. That said, the session I attended, a documentary screening of Mast Qalandar was pretty enlightening. The 30-minute documentary was directed by German filmmaker Till Passow and was about the urs at Sehwan Sharif and the rituals of the Sufi mystics there. There was barely any dialogue but the in-depth, fly-on-the-wall style of documenting these men and women was visceral. I remembered my own trip to Sehwan when I was nine and how overwhelming the sights and sounds were. It was one of the strangest yet rewarding experiences of my life.

And finally, with views like these who can resist posing?


So that is our recap! Did you attend the festival? What sessions did you enjoy?

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