The 9th Islamabad Literature Festival (ILF) unfolded in glory at the Gandhara Citizen Club in Fatima Jinnah Park. The three-day event, graced by literary luminaries, promises to be a hub of fresh ideas, creative perspectives, and a celebration of the art of storytelling. With a focus on the theme ‘People, Planet, Possibilities,’ the ILF aims to inspire collaboration among individuals, communities, and organizations for a more sustainable and inclusive world.
OUP Managing Director Highlights the Impact of Literary Festivals
At the opening session, Arshad Saeed Husain, Managing Director of Oxford University Press (OUP), welcomed attendees and underscored the significant impact of literary festivals. He emphasized that fostering a cultural shift depends on celebrating diverse perspectives and their constructive effects. Mr. Husain noted that literature serves as a testament to human resilience, offering a beacon of hope in even the darkest times.
Acknowledgements at the 9th Islamabad Literature Festival
British High Commissioner Jane Marriott expressed her gratitude for the recognition that Pakistani authors, especially those writing in English, have achieved globally. She emphasized the power of literature in allowing individuals to explore self-expression, creativity, and a deeper understanding of their experiences. Ms. Marriott also highlighted the profound connections between the United Kingdom and Pakistan in education and culture.
Nauman Khalid, representing the Capital Development Authority (CDA), voiced his admiration for the festival and called for more such events in the future. His remarks reflected the importance of promoting and supporting cultural and literary initiatives.
Khalid Mahmood, Managing Director of Getz Pharma, reiterated the significance of sustainability and inclusivity, emphasizing that a sustainable world invites everyone to share its abundance, regardless of their background or circumstances.
Prominent Urdu poet, scholar, and literary figure Iftikhar Arif spoke about the need for recognition of various languages, both spoken and written, at the state level. He also expressed sympathy for the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, highlighting the imperative need for peace in the region.
British author, biographer, and historian Victoria Schofield shared her delight at being back in Pakistan, showcasing the international appeal of the festival.
The opening ceremony concluded with a mesmerizing performance by Zahshanne Malik, a renowned actor, performer, artist, and dancer. Her moving interpretation of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s ‘Lao to Qatal Nama Mera’ left the audience spellbound.
Dive into the Literary World
The festival featured a diverse array of sessions, including ‘Iqbal: Aik Ehed Saaz Shair,’ which explored how Allama Iqbal’s poetry shaped the times. Another session, ‘Mangroves: A Forest in Peril,’ offered a thought-provoking conversation about Pakistan’s mangroves. The day concluded with a discussion on the right to religious freedom, delving into ‘Jinnah’s Vision: Safeguarding Religious Freedom.’
In addition to the literary discussions, two art exhibitions curated by connoisseurs Qudus Mirza, Ammar Faiz, and Fauzia Minallah added an artistic dimension to the festival, further enhancing the cultural experience.