Oxford to Host 6th Islamabad Literature Festival This Weekend

The Managing Director of Oxford University Press (OUP), Arshad Saeed Husain, announced that the 6th Islamabad Literature Festival (ILF) will be held on 27, 28 and 29 September 2019 at Hotel Margala, Islamabad.

The festival, centered around the theme ‘The Focus is Tomorrow: Reflecting on the Past’, will feature a line-up of over 150 leading Pakistani and international speakers, authors, academics, journalists, and artists.

ILF’s program has been curated by an Advisory Board comprising prominent literary figures such as Muneeza Shamsie, Harris Khalique, Iftikhar Arif, Mujahid Barelvi, Salman Tarik Kureshi, and Tahmina Aziz Ayub.

Arshad says,

Following its tradition, this year’s festival will bring something unique for everyone. Since the first Islamabad Literature Festival in 2013, which drew over 15,000 visitors, the festival has grown tremendously and continuing the heritage of this literary event, OUP expects a footfall of more than 60,000 at this year’s ILF. Navid Shahzad and Haseena Moin would be the keynote speakers at the ILF inauguration while the closing ceremony would be addressed by Ishrat Husain and Anwar Maqsood. There would be more than 50 sessions with speakers from around eight countries including UK, USA, France, Russia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Germany, and China.

The 6th edition of the festival will feature talks, interviews, panel discussions, Urdu and English mushaira, sessions on Pashto and Punjabi writings, readings, author signings, performing arts, and documentary screenings.

Moreover, around 9 book launches are planned this year which will be a treat for book lovers.

Aamer Hussein, Anna Suvorova, Bettina Robotka, George Fulton, JochenHippler, Julien Columeau, PatchamuthuIllangovan, Soniah Kamal, Vafa Yazdan Manesh, and H.E. Yao Jing are some of the international speakers participating in the festival.

The local literary luminaries, academics, and intellectuals to be featured in the 6th ILF include Abdul Basit, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Afrasiab Khattak,  Amin Gulgee, Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Asad Umar, Asif Yasin Malik, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Athar Abbas,Atiya Khan, FasiZaka, Fouzia Saeed, H.M. Naqvi, Hafiz A. Pasha, Haroon Khalid Akhtar, Hina Rabbani Khar, Huma Baqai, Humayun Saeed, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Kishwar Naheed, Maheen Usmani, Moeed Pirzada, Mohammed Hanif, Moneeza Hashmi, Nadeem Farooq Paracha, Nafisa Shah, Nasir Abbas Nayyar, NidaKirmani, Niilofur Farrukh, Noorul Huda Shah, Omar Shahid Hamid, Osman Khalid Butt, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Rasul Bakhsh Rais, Raza Rabbani, Salman Rashid, Sania Nishtar, Shabbar Zaidi, Shahnaz Sheikh, Taha Kehar, and Talat Masood.

Some of the exciting sessions planned for the ILF are:

  • Iftikhar Arif: Life and Work; Kashmir: The Valley Seized
  • Teen Saltanaton ki Daastan (An Historical Chinese Novel) translated by Zahoor Ahmed
  • Striking Peace in a Nuclear Environment
  • Depicting the Woman in Literature and Drama
  • Pakistani Cinema: The Rise, The Fall…and the Rise Again?
  • Urdu Main Tareekhi Fiction Nigari: Quratulain Hyder, Abdullah Hussein, Intizar Husain
  • Satire in the Time of Tabdeeli
  • 1919: Jallianwala Bagh and The Century That Followed
  • Potoharka Adabi Manzarnama

Two documentaries, ‘Indus Blues’ and ‘The QalandarCode’, will also be screened at the festival.

Performing arts form an integral part of ILF. This year, the performances include Anand Taandav (Dance of Peace and Understanding) by Iftikhar Masih; 22 Crore: A Tribute to the revolutionary poet Habib Jalib by Dugdugi; Jahan e Sufi (folk and qawwali fusion music) by Bakhshi Brothers; Ghazal Night with Hamid Ali Khan; and stand-up comedy featuring Shafaat Ali.

Arshad Saeed Husain has invited the people of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and the entire region to attend ILF and join in the festivities.

Sponsorship support is being provided by K. Electric, FES, HUBCO, Martin Dow, Tehzeeb Foundation, Embassy of France, US Consulate, Millennium Education, PARCO, British Council, and Goethe Institute. Pathfinder Group is the event’s Security Partner and S. I. Global is the Technology Partner.


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