Tag Archives: KLF

The Karachi Literature Festival needs disruption to win back Pakistan’s literary heart


Harris Khalique verbalised my thoughts at the eighth edition of the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) exactly when, during the launch of his book Crimson Papers, he mused, “Why do I write? And what difference will it make?”

He revealed this as the question he struggles with endlessly, and it occurred to me how this is what literature festivals ought to examine today. Because as borders become impermeable, as walls go up between people and as bans become common, a conversation about the limits of literature and language to bridge divides — or the new ways in which writing must be appropriated to effect change — becomes essential.

This year’s KLF felt smaller and more subdued than its predecessor. The festival clearly suffered from tensions between India and Pakistan as only a handful of Indian authors made it across the border. Read more

Source: Images

Kumaon Literary Festival: The Malgudi of writers & poets

By Aminah Sheikh

Left to right: Daleep Akoi (KLF Chair Organizing Committee), TM Krishna (Carnatic Vocalist,  Writer on Human Choices, Dilemmas & Concerns, Recipient, Magsaysay Award 2016), Justice AK Sikri (Judge Supreme Court of India ), Sumant Batra (KLF Founder) and Rishi Suri (KLF Planning Board)

Where is Malgudi? Renowned novelist R K Narayan was often asked, and many undertook a wild goose chase to find the South Indian town, drawing different conclusions – perhaps it was Mysore or Bengaluru. Of the many replies Narayan gave when asked about this world he had conjured and if it did really exist, he said, “Malgudi is where we all belong, and where we wish we lived”.

Looking outside of the tinted windows in the train’s air-conditioned compartment, I smiled. I had a brilliant writer’s conjured world, for company. The train, over two days, was taking me across five Indian states to reach Delhi from where I was headed to Uttrakhand.

Sunsets at jungle retreats, are perfect for story-telling, especially when stories are of the jungle and their legends. “In the good old days, we didn’t fear the tigers. We welcomed them,” said Deep Belwal, a well-known resident of Ramnagar, as he shared folklores from the land which hosts the Kumaon Literary Festival (KLF).

Deep Belwal narrating folk stories from Kumaon 

KLF’s founder Sumant Batra has often spoken of his vision of developing this region as a ‘culture village’. This is Malgudi of sorts – of the literary world, where people come to tell tales, read a poem, speak of literature such as the Dalit literature that is redefining perceptions and mindsets.  “Kumaon Literary Festival (KLF) brings together celebrated authors, respected thought leaders and opinion makers of the country to the beautiful places of Uttrakhand Kumaon region. Blessed with pleasing climate, the overwhelming view of the Himalayas, lush forests, enticing fruit orchards and charming people, Kumaon is a beautiful weekend getaway close to Delhi. This year we are having around 138 speakers from various parts of the country,” said Batra.

Session on Dalit literature: (left to right) Ashalata Kamble, Nirupama Dutta, Urmila Pawar & Jerry Pinto

The inaugural day of the second edition of KLF came to a serene end with a Dastangoi session, an art form of storytelling, performed by Fouzia and Fazal, followed by a dramatic reading of Kiran Manral’s book ‘Face In The Window’ by Daleep Akoi.

Feeling the grass under my feet, in an ambiance lit with beautiful words amidst the forest, I couldn’t help but wonder about Jim Corbett’s legendary book ‘Man-eaters of Kumaon’ and Narayan’s ‘The man-eater of Malgudi’.

Perhaps, there is a Malgudi in each Indian state, stories waiting to be retold. And KLF may as well be marked as a storyteller’s haunt.

Aminah Sheikh is the online editor of Kitaab.


Kumaon Literary Festival 2016 reveals a strong line-up of writers

KLF LogoThe second edition of the YES BANK Kumaon Literary Festival (KLF), that will be held from 11th to 15th October 2016, will feature an interesting mix of voices from all kinds of backgrounds and spectrums.

According to media statement by KLF, the festival shall play host to many famous names from the worlds of literature, publishing, cinema and politics. Authors like Amish Tripathi, Ravi Subrimanian, Preeti Shenoy, Jerry Pinto, Tuhin Sinha, Shinie Anotny, Hindol Sengupta, Dr. Rakhshanda Jalil, Nirupama Dutt, and many others have confirmed their presence for the festival. Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Justice A K Sikri, Justice S K Kaul, Shahid Siddiqui, Swapandas Gupta, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Nupur Sharma and other names from the world of politics and law have agreed kindly to be a part of the festival. Biographers like Sathya Saran, Aseem Chabra, Jai Arjun Singh, Akshay Manwani, Yasser Usman, Gautam Chintamani have all consented to be present at the Festival. Many speakers like Afia Aslam, Ali Akbar Natiq, Ameena Saiyid, Asif Farrukhi, Asif Noorani, Dr. Sabyn Javeri, Mohsin Sayeed shall all come from Pakistan to attend the festival. Speakers like Ajay Rawat, Anup Sah, Dr. Shekhar Pathak, Deepak Rawat, Mona Verma, C S Tiwari, Hridayesh Joshi, Sanjay Panday and others from the Uttarakhand heartland are going to be present at different sessions of the festival.

The first three days shall be held at Jim’s Jungle Retreat in Jim Corbett National Park, while the last two days shall be a closed door event at Te Aroha in Dhanachuli.

Thought-provoking panel discussions

The second edition of the Festival shall have sessions on a wide range of subjects.

Following are some of the highlight sessions of this edition of the festival: Read more

The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Rakhshanda Jalil

R jalilLet’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

Let me tweak Descartes and say, ‘I write; therefore I am.’ I think by now it is almost a compulsion; it defines who I am.

 Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

I always have more than one in various stages. So, there is a biography of the Urdu poet Shahryar which is almost two-thirds done; a translation of a novel by Krishan Chandar called Ghaddar which my publishers are hoping to pitch as a partition novel next year (2017 marks the 70th year of the annus horribilis that was 1947); an edited volume of critical writings on Ismat Chughtai which is nearly done; and a translated volume of short stories and poems by Gulzar on the partition, again due in 2017 to mark the 70th anniversary. And lurking somewhere in the future is a travelogue – on Ghalib’s journey from Delhi to Calcutta and back in the early 19th century.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

KLF LogoI worked for years as an editor in various publishing houses. I have also written journalistic pieces for various newspapers. My training for the Ph D taught me diligence and painstaking research. And then I have also been a translator for decades now. So all of these ‘roles’ have defined my writing style. As an editor, I produce a clean copy and have learnt over the years to do a self edit of everything I write. As a translator, I trained myself to do a close reading of texts and also learnt to value words and tease out their exact meanings. As a columnist, I learnt to write quickly and meet deadlines and be considered a reliable and swift writer. As a researcher, I learnt there are no short cuts to producing good writing. So everything comes together in a happy mix! Read more

Karachi Literature Festival concludes: Speakers pay glowing tributes to Intizar Hussain at 7th KLF

Hussain’s personality and his works were discussed from time to time at various sessions, being recalled for his versatile writing and contribution to Pakistani literature: Daily Times

Intizar_husainDistinguished authors and prominent speakers paid glowing tribute to the renowned Intizar Hussain during the 7th Karachi Literature Festival.

Hussain had not only contributed richly to Urdu literature but he was one of the keynote speakers at literature festivals of the past many years.

Hussain’s personality and his works were discussed from time to time at various sessions and he was being recalled for his versatile writing and contribution to Pakistani literature, which also has global standing. Read more

KLF: Links in the KLF Anglophone literature chain

AT the inauguration ceremony of the sixth annual KLF, noted academic and drama critic, Framji Minwalla, conveyed the choice for the French Embassy literary prize for the best Pakistani fiction to the audience. In his preamble, he claimed, “Pakistani fiction both at home and in the diaspora is alive to the complexities of our interdependent pasts and present, fashioning imaginative realms … that give us faith in the capacity of stories to shed light on the murkier corners of our lives.” Read more

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. Read more

Soniah Kamal’s book shortlisted for Karachi Literature Festival — Embassy of France Prize

Pakistani-American author Soniah Kamal’s debut novel An Isolated Incident is a finalist for the Karachi Literature Festival – Embassy of France Prize 2015.

The novel is one out of four shortlisted for the prize out of a total 10 books, which were submitted for nomination. The prize winner will be announced during the opening ceremony of KLF on February 6 at the Beach Luxury Hotel, Karachi. Read more

KLF: Books, cooks, schnooks and more at the Karachi Literature Festival ’14

The Karachi Literature Festival inaugurated in 2010 and in five years has become the leading cultural event in Pakistan: The Tribune

A Parsi, a Bohri and I get into a conversation about the on-going TTP talks. The Parsi talks about the possibility of growing a beard. Since I am rather addicted to my look I joke about declaring myself a dhimmi (non-Muslims of an Islamic state) and paying jizya (tax). We laugh because we can and because we feel liberated enough to joke about it. Yes, it’s the KLF, the dark humour is perfectly acceptable and you naturally feel slightly freer when you have just heard a speech by Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson. Read more

KLF: When arts and literature mix with one’s blood

“I never thought of myself as wise or someone who could give advices to people.” This is how Navid Shahzad started talking at the session called ‘In conversation with Navid Shahzad’. The session was moderated by Sarmad Khoosat: The Express Tribune

According to the Karachi Literature Festival 2014′s website, “Shahzad is known as an actor, poet, journalist and television pioneer. Having taught English literature at the Punjab University, she was head of Pakistan’s school of Fashion Design for five years. She has also served as Dean, school of Liberal Arts, at the Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. She owns a company called Theatrewalley regularly produces dramatic performances; the latest being a performance of an Urdu translation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew performed at the Globe Theatre, London, in 2012. Currently, she is the Academic Advisor at Lahore Grammar School (LGS). In 2003, she was awarded the President’s Pride of Performance for her contribution to literature and the arts in Pakistan.”

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