The Islamabad Literature Festival (ILF), that launched in April 2013, and the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) that launched in March 2010, are open to all and free. The first of a kind in Pakistan, they bring together and celebrate authors writing in diverse languages, genres and traditions. They feature debates, discussions, lectures, mushairah, a book fair, book launches, readings, signings, comedy, satire, theatre and more. Inspired by the success of the first two KLFs, the 1st Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) of Pakistan was launched in Lahore in 2011: the CLF was held in Quetta and Peshawar in 2012, and in 2013 it was held in Bahawalpur, Islamabad, and jointly under the KLF umbrella. The Islamabad Literature Festival is an outcome of this same momentum that started in Pakistan with the first Karachi Literature Festival, a momentum that reflects the depth of our historical literary and cultural roots, and the great desire and energy in Pakistan -- irrespective of the city in which the Festival is held -- to seek knowledge, understanding, and creative growth.
The KLF and ILF are directed by Ameena Saiyid, co-founded by Ameena Saiyid and Asif Farrukhi, and produced by Oxford University Press. KLF attendance rose from roughly 5,000 in 2010 to 10,000 in 2011, to 15,000 in 2012, to 50,000 in 2013 to 70,000 in 2014. In 2010 we had 34 sessions with 35 speakers/performers; in 2011, 46 sessions with 104 speakers/performers; in 2012, 62 sessions with 139 speakers/performers; and in 2013 we had around 129 sessions with over 200 speakers/performers (individuals and groups) in Karachi. We are hoping for a similar increase in turn-out at the 2nd edition of the Islamabad Literature Festival which starts on April 25th and runs through the 26th and 27th. Please join us the Hotel Margala for ILF-2. There’s no need to register in advance. Just turn up!
"I attend a lot of Festivals, but I have to say that this one's sense of urgency and the desire of people to speak about literature, about politics, about their country, about their country in relation to other people's countries -- has been particularly urgent and necessary here. I felt a real buzz and a real excitement in this place. And if I wonder -- as all writers do every day when they get up and sit at their desk -- if I wonder what the hell we're doing this for, when you actually come to a festival like this and meet readers and meet other writers, you get a real sense that writing is important and that writers matter..." Hanif Kureishi in conversation with Susie Nicklin. Susie mentioned that Hanif had travelled back to Karachi after 25 years to attend the 3rd KLF in 2012.
"Different ideas and assessments emerged in every session. In a gathering of such gifted minds, the quality of discourse is sure to be high." Ghazi Salahuddin in The News, March 28, 2010, reprinted in Jahan-e-Rumi