The Current’s special contributor, senior journalist Razeshta Sethna, spoke to Razi Ahmed, the founder of the Lahore Literary Festival about the ethos behind the fest and the challenges overcome in making it successful for the past eight years.
Q) What’s the overall ethos/or underlying theme for LLF this year?
LLF is a civil society initiative which stands for intellectual stimulation and honouring Lahore’s rich literary and cultural traditions. It is an entirely private event, with no government support, run for the city of Lahore as a free and open-to-public event.
Q)In the past eight years, LLF has come a long way despite the challenges, so what’s been the hardest one you’ve had to contend with and why?
LLF has faced hardships which are common to many platforms in places like India and Bangladesh too. It is collective teamwork, indeed, coupled with a strong mission to serve and contribute to the society that have enabled the team at LLF to surmount the challenges.
We have over eight years of LLF honoured the great Pakistani writers and poets, including, among others, Intizar Hussain, Bapsi Sidhwa, Abdullah Hussein, Zehra Nigah, Amjad Islam Amjad and Asghar Nadeem Syed.
Q) What sessions will you be going to this year? Your top three picks?
*LLF will commence on Friday Feb 21st at the Alhamra Arts Center on Mall Road,
The three-day event, culminating on February 23, 2020, will continue its tradition of hosting eminent writers, historians, artists and opinion makers from Pakistan and abroad with over a hundred speakers and 63 sessions.
This year’s festival will include Pakistani author Fatima Bhutto, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Orhan Pamuk, Oyinkan Braithwaite, who was long-listed for the Man Booker 2019; author Musharraf Ali Farooqi, who will launch his latest book, The Merman and the Book of Power; novelist and poet Nitasha Kaul, who has written on the plight of Kashmir in Modi’s India; and Adrian Hayes, who will launch One Man’s Climb, a book about his journey to reach the summit of K2.