The 8th Lahore Literary Festival is going to be in full swing from Friday Feb 21st to Sunday Feb 23rd. This year’s schedule seems particularly promising with the inclusion of Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, Orhan Pamuk who has a massive fan following in Pakistan. They also include book launches, and notable personalities like Middle East expert and author, Vali Nasr, Nigerian writer Oyinkan Braithwaite, and Mughal historian Audrey Truschke.

The Current’s picks for the sessions are:

“I’m most excited to meet Orhan Pamuk and get a chance to get my collection of Pamuk books signed by him. He’s a beautiful writer, his books are complicated but rewarding, tales of human nature, love, murder and how our culture defines us. He will be the star attraction this year at the LLF and I will definitely be attending the opening ceremony on Friday morning.


I’m also looking forward to the launch of HalaGula children’s books. The session is on Saturday at 2:45PM-3:45PM and is the launch of new children’s books in Urdu. There isn’t anything fun and exciting in children’s reading available in Urdu, so this will be a welcome addition – Marium Chaudhry, Founder

The Herald, one of Pakistan’s oldest magazines has recently discontinued

A session with journalists Tehmina Ahmed and Talat Aslam will be coming together with ex-HRCP chairman Dr I A Rehman — none of whom ever shied away from raising their voices even against military dictatorships — discuss the latest rough patch media industry in Pakistan has hit under PTI rule. Moderated by Razeshta Sethna, former Senior Assitant Editor of the Herald, the panel is titled ‘Speaking Truth to Power’, the panel is likely to discuss the recently ceased Herald and Newsline. I’m also going to be attending ‘Hum Dekheingay’ . In this session, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, poet Zehra Nigah and historian Nomanul Haq will discuss with moderator Salman Akram Raja how Marxist poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s writings are transcending borders and languages to fire people’s movements, as recently seen in India – Abdullah Zafar, Political Editor

I am interested in ‘Bigotry Brigade: Where is India headed?’ which will be on 4PM-5PM on Saturday. This session will be quite interesting. All the panelists are excellent, especially historian, Audrey Truschke, who has written a book on Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, which negates the Indian narrative of an evil Muslim ruler. I am interested in India’s descent into extremism as it is quite disheartening to see a secular country like India with a population of more than a billion people turn to Hindutva – Mehmal Sarfraz, Co-Founder

’55 Lawrence Road: Memories of a Jewish Family that left Pakistan in 1973′ is an intriguing title for a session. I am expecting the session will revolve around how Jewish families lived in Pakistan well after partition and why and how they migrated out of the country. I am particularly interested to know how they lived and how active their synagogues were as most of them in Pakistan are no longer active. The session is at 1:30-2:30 on Saturday and has famous architect, Nayyar Ali Dada, Pakistani-born journalist, Hazel Kahan and Pakistani film director Shireen Pasha – Saman Shafiq, Entertainment Editor

I’ts not just that our founder, Marium is a part of this session but ‘Digital Trumps Print?’ will be a session where print and T.V. journalists will discuss the challenges of change that come with the digital media transformation of Pakistan. It will be interesting to see old school journalists like Arif Nizami and Samaa’s owner Zafar Siddiqi talk about what digital media means to them at a time of slit-throat competition. The session is on Sunday from 11:15am-12:15am – Fahad Malik, Data and Tech Sub-Editor

Mahira Khan will be attending the LLF on Sunday

It will be illuminating for me to be a part of the session ‘ Pakistan’s brave new cinema’ where two renowned women of Pakistan, actress Mahira Khan and journalist Fifi Haroon, will discuss the future of cinema and how it can create awareness on sensitive issues in the country. The session is on Sunday from 2:45PM-3:45PM – Urooj Ali, Lifestyle Sub-Editor