Lahore Literary Festival 2018


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A one-day showcase of the rich cultural traditions of Pakistan in writing and the arts

A one-day showcase of the rich cultural traditions of Pakistan in writing and the arts

Following a sell-out day in 2017, this showcase of the rich cultural traditions of Pakistan in writing and the arts returns to the Library. Featuring award-winning writer and journalist Ahmed Rashid, British-Pakistani media artist Aphra Shemza, food writer Sameen Rushdie, Sanam Maher, 8th Earl of Harewood David Lascelles, popular historian Charles Allen, lawyer and novelist Osama Siddique, writer Sonia Faleiro and more.

The day concludes with an evening performance by Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad Qawals. Tickets for the evening event must be purchased separately, book here.


10.00  Registration

10.30  Knowledge Centre Theatre

Opening remarks

Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations

Razi Ahmed, Founding Director, Lahore Literary Festival

11.00 – 11.45  Knowledge Centre Theatre

Imagining the Mughals

How the British represented the Mughals of the colonial subcontinent in images and subsequent depictions seen through a contemporary lens

Mehreen Chida-Razvi (a specialist on the art and architecture of Mughal South Asia, she is currently writing a book on the patronage and production of the mausoleum of Emperor Jahangir)

Zehra Jumabhoy (art critic and historian specialising in contemporary South Asian art, The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Aphra Shemza (new media artist working with abstraction, interactivity and light)

Moderated by Amin Jaffer (senior curator, The Al-Thani Collection, and the former International Director of Asian Art at Christie’s)

Co-presented with The Pakistan Society

11.00 – 11.45 Eliot Room

Panorama of Muslims

Shining a spotlight on the lives and accomplishments of a mosaic of Islamic civilisation, comprising brilliant minds stretching across time and geography

Ali Mahmood, author of Muslims
Alex von Tunzelmann (moderator), historian and writer of, among other books, Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire

11.15 – 11.45 Chaucer Room

It’s a Women’s World

Mishal Husain discusses her new book on women, authority and the skills needed to survive and thrive in the 21st century workplace

Mishal Husain is in conversation with Nomia Iqbal (Radio and TV journalist and presenter, currently presenting for the BBC World Service’s Newsday)

12.00 – 12.45 Knowledge Centre Theatre

The Crux of Kargil

Dissecting the insights about peace and warfare found in journalist Nasim Zehra’s book on the 1999 Kargil War

Ahmed Rashid (acclaimed journalist and author of five books on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, including the bestseller Taliban)

Nasim Zehra (journalist and author of From Kargil to the Coup: Events That Shook Pakistan)

Myra MacDonald (journalist and author specialising in South Asian politics and security. She was a correspondent with Reuters for nearly 30 years and has published a book on the Siachen conflict)

Moderated by Mishal Husain (Internationally-renowned journalist for her work on BBC World News, Husain is currently a news presenter on BBC1)

12.00 – 12.45 Eliot Room

Silent Dissent

Celebrating the art and activism of Lahore-based artist Ijaz ul Hassan

Ijaz ul Hassan, Lahore-based painter, teacher, art critic and writer

Sona Datta (former curator at the British Museum and host of BBC4’s Treasures of the Indus) chairs the conversation.

13.00 – 13.45 Knowledge Centre Theatre

Salaam, Dastarkhwan

In championing classic Indian recipes, Sameen Rushdie explores the shared culinary heritage of North India and Pakistan

Sameen Rushdie, author of Indian Cookery

Razia Iqbal (BBC broadcaster and journalist) chairs the conversation.

13.00 – 13.45 Eliot Room

Aesthetics of Persian Poetic Forms

Discussing the interactions of Persian poetic forms and literary production in Urdu and Bengali through an exploration of literary aesthetics in the multilingual environment of South Asia

Richard Williams (SOAS faculty member whose research intersects music and sound studies with the study of religions and Indian cultural history)

Sahba Shayani (instructor in Persian, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford)

Arthur Dudney (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Cambridge, he is working on a history of Persian literary education)

Moderated by Nur Sobers-Khan (Lead Curator for South Asia at the British Library)

Co-presented with the British Library

14.00 – 14.45 Knowledge Centre Theatre

Time Past, Time Present

How multiple pasts and conflicting histories can fashion a writer’s sense of storytelling

Osama Siddique (a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a lawyer in New York and Lahore, a reform consultant in Pakistan, and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. He recently authored his first novel, Snuffing Out the Moon)

Romesh Gunesekera (author of four novels, including Reef, which was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Guardian Fiction Prize)

Shrabani Basu (author, journalist and historian, her books include Curry: The Story of the Nation’s Favourite Dish; Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan; Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant)

Moderated by Claire Armitstead (Associate Editor, Culture for The Guardian, she also presents the weekly Guardian Books podcast)

14.00 – 14.45 Eliot Room

Sketches from a Howdah

In his latest book, F S Aijazuddin matches Charlotte Canning’s exquisite watercolours and sketches to her vivid, entertaining, and often witty descriptions of various locales across British India

F S Aijazuddin (Dawn columnist, noted art historian and author of over a dozen books)

Earl of Harewood David Lascelles, cinematographer and movie and television producer with 25 years of experience

Moderated by Charles Allen, historian and author whose work focuses largely on India, and the Indian Subcontinent in general, including but not limited to Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling

15.00 – 15.45 Knowledge Centre Theatre

A New Pakistan: Rhetoric or A-Changin’?

Pakistan marked its third democratic transition in 2018. A look at the first 100 days and the way ahead for the new government of Imran Khan

Ahmed Nawaz (Education and peace activist who survived an attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School in 2014)

Madiha Afzal (non-resident fellow in the Global Economy and Development program and in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, she is the author of Pakistan Under Siege: Extremism, Society, and the State)

Sulema Jahangir (London-based Pakistani lawyer specializing in human rights)

Saroop Ijaz (columnist, lawyer and human rights activist)

Moderated by author and journalist Ahmed Rashid

15.00 – 15.45 Eliot Room

Small is Beautiful

A discussion on Mughal miniatures from the Collections, and how they were obtained and brought to Britain

Emily Hannam (Assistant Curator of Islamic and South Asian Collections, Royal Collection Trust)

Saqib Baburi (Curator for the Persian Manuscripts Digitisation Project at the British Library)

Moderated by Tanvir Hasan (an accredited conservation architect as well as the Deputy Chairman and lead Director of Donald Insall Associates, London).

16.00 – 16.45 Knowledge Centre Theatre

An Intrepid Life

Exploring the rise of social media, ethics in journalism, and the unabashedly bold life of Qandeel Baloch

Sanam Maher (journalist and author of The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch)

Sonia Faleiro (author of Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay’s Dance Bars)

Saroop Ijaz (columnist, lawyer and human rights activist)

Moderated by Saima Mohsin (a correspondent and anchor working for radio and TV in the United Kingdom, United States and Pakistan)

16:00 – 16:45 Eliot Room

Agony and Ecstasy

Emphasising the ageless messages of Khawaja Ghulam Farid and Bulleh Shah through the recitation and contextualisation of Punjab’s Sufi poetry

Christopher Shackle, Emeritus Professor of the Modern Languages of South Asia at SOAS, he was given Pakistan’s highest award for the arts, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, in 2005

Pritpal Singh, Trustee of South Asian Arts, U.K.

With Nadia Jamil, Pakistani actor and activist, and Rishm Syed, Pakistani visual artist, joining the panel to recite Sufi poetry at the end of the session

17.00 – 18.00 Knowledge Centre Theatre

India and Pakistan: Divided by Democracy?

A tale of two states, post-1947, linked by geography yet divided by different politics.

Aitzaz Ahsan (Lawmaker and senior advocate, he played an instrumental role in Pakistan’s lawyers’ movement for an independent judiciary)

Meghnad Desai (Economist and politician, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, in 2008)

Moderated by Victoria Schofield (journalist, biographer and historian. Author of, among other notable works, Wavell: Soldier and Stateman)

Please note that this program may be subject to change at the discretion of the Lahore Literary Festival


Name: Lahore Literary Festival 2018
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546