Literary festival starts today at Alhamra Art Centre, Lahore

LAHORE:The 10th edition of the Lahore Literary Festival, scheduled for March 18  to 20, 2022, will be held  at Lahore’s Alhamra Art Centre for the first time since the pandemic.
“Since its debut edition in 2013, LLF holds sway in Lahore as the place of civilised discourse brimming with big ideas,” said Razi Ahmed, founder and CEO of LLF. “It is a landmark occasion as we celebrate 10 years of the Lahore Literary Festival this year and return to engage with students and citizens across the country, as well as celebrated thinkers, from Pakistan and abroad, in dynamic discussions across a range of themes.” The lineup includes over a dozen international authors, which means that it is comparatively smaller than the pre-pandemic LLFs; but it’s significantly different from last year’s lineup which was entirely digital.

The keynote speaker this year is Marc David Baer, Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He is the author of five books, including his latest Ottomans: Khans, Caesars and Caliphs published in 2021, to be launched this year at LLF, which re-examines the Ottoman dynasty’s long-lasting impact on Europe and the rest of the world.

Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif, Booker Prize nominee in 1999 for The Map of Love will give a talk on contemporary Egypt. International authors who have travelled to Pakistan this year include Vietnamese writer Nguyên Phan Quê Mai with ‘The Mountains Sing’ which is her first novel in English, a moving and lyrical account of four generations of a Vietnamese family over the past 100 years as wars tear families and the country apart. In these chilling times, this book is an essential read to remember the consequences of conflict. Similarly, ‘Everything Is True: A Junior Doctor’s Story of Life, Death and Grief in a Time of Pandemic’ by British novelist turned doctor Roopa Farooki is an honest and heartfelt memoir of the Covid-19 pandemic up-close and personal. The author will be talking to Alexandra Pringle who is the Executive Publisher at Bloomsbury Publishing who will also have a conversation with British interdisciplinary artist and designer turned storyteller Osman Yousefzada about his memoir titled ‘The Go-Between’ in which he talks about his Pathan roots and Birmingham upbringing. American environmental journalist Beth Gardiner’s book Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution is another important work to be presented at LLF 2022. Tufts University Professor Ayesha Jalal is back at LLF this year from the USA. A conversation about the first European translation of One Thousand and One Nights (Alf Laylah wa-Laylah) translated from Arabic to French by Antoine Galland between 1704 and 1717 will make for fascinating hearing, led by Istanbul-based writer and translator Yasmin Seale who is also translating the classic text. London-based activist Tariq Ali, a renowned figure of the international left, will share valuable insights on his street-fighting years as he talks to veteran journalist Najam Sethi in a digital conversation.