well read - Karachi Literature Festival
Written by Karen Martin
The annual two-day Karachi Literature Festival, held on February 11-12, celebrates Pakistani and international authors with numerous events open to all.
Taking place at the Carlton Hotel, the Karachi Literature Festival brings together writers and poets, scholars and academics, from a diversity of languages, academic disciplines, and intellectual traditions to create an opportunity for cultural dialogue and exchange through the celebration of writing and books.
Some of the many events taking place over the weekend include creative-writing workshops, debates/discussions, lectures, book launches, readings, interactive story-telling for children, Urdu poetry slams (mushaira), and music and theatre performances. The keynote speaker at the festival is acclaimed author and historian William Dalrymple.
Taking advantage of a recent upsurge of interest in writing from and about Pakistan, the festival also seeks to broaden the picture of society in Pakistan by celebrating its dynamism and diversity. Located in Karachi, a city known for its vibrant contradictions as well as a constant flow of ideas and forms of expression, the festival embodies the same spirit in which the diversity in Pakistan’s society and that expressed by authors from traditions beyond Pakistan’s borders is freely accessible.
ON WINGS OF DIESEL: TRUCKS, IDENTITY and CULTURE IN PAKISTAN
By Jamal J. Elias
Considered much more than simply a means of transport, trucks in Pakistan are extensively decorated with paintings, objects, calligraphy, and carvings to represent the truck owners, drivers, and artists. A prominent part of everyday life, these mobile expressions of creativity have been embraced as a powerful symbol of national identity, and provide a unique window into Pakistan’s complex society.
OUR LADY OF ALICE BHATTI
By Mohammed Hanif
The patients of the Sacred Heart Hospital for All Ailments are looking for a miracle, and Alice Bhatti is looking for a job. With guidance from the working nurse’s manual, and some tricks she picked up in prison, Alice brings help to thousands of patients. In the process she attracts the attention of a lovesick patient, Teddy Bunt, apprentice to the notorious ‘Gentleman Squad’ of the Karachi police. Their love is unexpected, but the consequences are not.
By H. M. Naqvi
Meet the Metrostanis, three young Pakistani men in New York City at the turn of the millennium: Chuck, a Karachi-born NYU grad searching for himself and the American Dream, who was fired from his banking job and now drives a cab, and his best friends AC, a PhD dropout, and Jimbo, a DJ raised in New Jersey. Home Boy is a coming of age story of a young male trying to blend into a new and different world far removed from his life in Karachi.
By Mirza Waheed
It is Kashmir in the early 1990s and war has reached the isolated village of Nowgam. Four teenage boys, who used to spend their afternoons playing cricket, or singing Bollywood ballads down by the river, have disappeared one by one, to cross into Pakistan and join the movement against the Indian army. Only one of their friends, the son of the headman, is left behind. The novel’s collaborating narrator is a poignant and unpredictable hero.
SHADOWS ACROSS THE PLAYING FIELD: 60 YEARS OF INDIA-PAKISTAN CRICKET
By Shashi Tharoor and Shaharyar Khan
This book traces the growing popularisation of cricket from the days of the Bombay Pentangular to the IPL. The authors show how politics and cricket became intertwined and assess the impact this has had on the game. But above all the book is a celebration of the talent of the many great cricketers who have captivated audiences on both sides of the border.
Distance: 1,565 km
Flight Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes