By: Faiz Paracha
ISLAMABAD: Oxford University Press (OUP) has announced the dates for the 9th Edition of the Islamabad Literature Festival (ILF), a three-day literary extravaganza scheduled to take place from November 3 to 5, 2023, at the Gandhara Citizen Club in F-9 Park. The sprawling grounds of the park will serve as the vibrant backdrop for this eagerly anticipated event.
With the overarching theme of ‘People, Planet, Possibilities,’ ILF promises an array of captivating keynotes, engaging conversations, book launches, exhibitions, and film screenings.
The inaugural event on Friday, November 3 will be open to the public, featuring thought-provoking addresses by Arshad Saeed Husain, Managing Director OUP; Jane Marriott, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom; and Khalid Mahmood, Managing Director, Getz Pharma Pvt. Ltd. The event will also include keynotes by the notable British author, biographer, and historian, Victoria Schofield, and the eminent Urdu poet, Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, and Presidential Pride of Performance, Iftikhar Arif. A beautiful performance on a literary piece will conclude the event.
Staying true to its tradition of celebrating Urdu poetry and its rendition, the event’s program has a grand Mushaira presided over by Iftikhar Arif, and a Ghazal Night with the maestro Ustad Hamid Ali Khan on the second and third evenings, respectively.
All informative and literary discussions will be led by eminent experts, including Dr. Ishrat Husain, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Mohammad Aurangzeb, Muhammad Azfar Ahsan, Saquib Ahmad, Dr. Farzana Bari, Dr. Najeeba Arif, Nasir Abbas Nayyar, Kishwar Naheed, Nasira Zuberi, Omar Shahid Hamid, Muneeza Shamsie, Harris Khalique, Hamid Khan, Zahid Hussain, Nasim Zehra, Hamid Mir, Asma Shirazi, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Khaled Anam, Sarmad Khoosat, and Beo Zafar. The diversity of their perspectives will enrich the sessions over the course of three days, exploring an array of captivating topics, from the evolving role of Artificial Intelligence, Evolution in Education, Contemporary Literature, Endangered Languages, Role of Women in Publishing, Changing Business Dynamics, and Foreign Policy, among others. An introduction to the UK’s leading Examination Board ‘OxfordAQA’ is also part of the event. OxfordAQA is well known worldwide for its reputation for academic excellence and alignment with the UK education system and will soon be available in Pakistan as the preferred option for examinations.
Arshad Saeed Husain, Managing Director OUP, shared his excitement at seeing literature festivals gaining such traction. He stated, “ILF and KLF have both become a rich resource for restoring the ethical and cultural perspectives in our society, by broadening horizons and instilling deep faith in our own identity as an equal and formidable part of the global culture.”
The 9th Edition of ILF is being held in collaboration with CDA, Getz Pharma Pakistan, Kaizen Paint Pvt Ltd, British Council and other supporters.
ILF has earned a special place in the hearts of literature enthusiasts, drawing attendees from all walks of life in and around Islamabad. It serves as a celebration of literary works while paying homage to the massive contribution of developing thought to the evolution of human civilization.