Lovers of literature, culture, and the arts will finally get the chance to interact with their favorite literary luminaries, celebrities, academics, and scholars as the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) returns as a live event from March 4-6, 2022, at the Beach Luxury Hotel.

Organised by Oxford University Press (OUP), the theme of this year’s KLF is Separation, Belonging and Beyond: 75 years of Pakistan, a statement said on Tuesday. The three-day event will explore the country’s achievements in its Diamond Anniversary year through a variety of thought-provoking panel discussions and book launches, which will be broadcast live around the world on OUP’s social media channels, and bring together over 200 national and international speakers.

Keynote speeches will be delivered by Victoria Schofield and Zia Mohyeddin at the inauguration, and Sardar Masood Khan and Hanif Kureshi at the closing ceremony

There will be over 60 sessions, including 20 book launches (10 in Urdu and 10 in English), with speakers from five countries (Pakistan, UK, US, New Zealand, and France). Visitors and the online audience will also have the chance to enjoy Urdu and English poetry readings, a qawwali, a feature film screening, and the first-ever airing of a series of short films, Let’s Heal the World.

A total of seven literary awards for Pakistani authors will be announced at the opening ceremony. The prizes will recognize pioneering work in Urdu prose and poetry, and English fiction, which is sponsored by Getz Pharma. This year, KLF is also celebrating the diversity of languages and cultures across the country by recognizing the best books in the Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi, and Pashto languages. These awards are supported by the Little Book Company.

Speaking at a press conference at Karachi Press Club, OUP Managing Director Arshad Saeed Husain mentioned how the festival will foster an environment of openness, pluralism, and intellectual discourse that will mark a refreshing change from the closures and restrictions of the pandemic.

“Our 13th KLF commemorates not only 75 years of Pakistan but also 70 years of OUP’s operations in Pakistan,” said Husain. “We have been committed to advancing knowledge, learning, and progress in Pakistan since 1952 through our high-quality educational material and digital resources for schools and higher education institutions. We can’t wait to once again demonstrate our love for literature, culture, and the arts in the most vibrant and intimate way possible: a live, in-person festival!”

Previous festivals have seen over 200,000 visitors gather at the venue to meet their favorite authors, poets, performers, and scholars. Organizers of the festival emphasized that all Covid-19 SOPs would be followed and only vaccinated members of the public would be allowed at the venue.

The festival’s organizers expressed their deep appreciation for this year’s title sponsor, Bank of Punjab. They also recognized the support extended by Getz Pharma, English Biscuit Manufacturers, the British Deputy High Commission, the British Council, the French Embassy, Lincoln’s Corner, Bank Alfalah, NBP Funds, UBL Funds, United Bank Limited, Dawlance, Tehzeeb Foundation, the Institute of Business Administration, Tapal and SMS Security.

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