Karachi literature festival

“A ROOM without books is like a body without a soul,” said Marcus Cicero a long time ago. One could say the same about a people without a love of books. Thankfully though, many Pakistanis have rediscovered the joy of the printed word — if they had ever lost it at all — as the increasing number of literary festivals all over the country indicate.

The Karachi Literature Festival 2015 begins tomorrow, the sixth iteration since it launched in 2010.

It has since evolved into a much-anticipated event, an intellectual and cultural oasis in a teeming, frenetic city whose internal tensions often threaten to tip it into violence.

Audience numbers have risen exponentially, from about 5,000 in 2010 to 70,000 last year. Speakers/participants have similarly gone up from 35 to over 200 over the same period. This year, although the number of sessions has been reduced, they have been crammed into two days, which is certain to leave many among the audience feeling they have a choice too many. Nevertheless, as always, the event will offer a platform for debate and discourse through panel discussions and talks on a diverse range of issues, as well as nearly 30 book launches.