At the Karachi literature festival, books really are a matter of life and death

In one of the world’s most dangerous cities, more than 100,000 people come together in a multilingual celebration of the written word : The Guardian

In Britain, where every two-horse village has a book festival and authors have become stumbling, portly simulacrums of their rock-star cousins, forever touring their greatest hits, we’ve grown to take our literary get-togethers for granted. It’s hard to imagine that a festival might be revolutionary, politically divisive, that attending could be a matter of taking your life in your hands. The Karachi literature festival (KLF) is now in its sixth year, and welcomed more than 100,000 people through its security scanners last weekend. The festival ended with a lavish British Council-hosted dinner, where the only clue that we were anywhere out of the ordinary was the throb of police boats circling the dark waters of Chinna Creek nearby.

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