Oxford University Press (OUP), organizer and producer of Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) held a press conference at The Arts Council Karachi to announce the salient features of the 14th edition of the KLF. Lovers of literature, culture and the arts will finally get the chance to interact with their favourite literary luminaries, celebrities, academics and scholars.

The theme of this year’s KLF is People, Planet and Possibilities focusing on the current economic and geo-political challenges facing Pakistan, the impact of climate change resulting in catastrophic floods in Pakistan and recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria and exploring possibilities through thought-provoking panel discussions and book launches.

Keynote speeches will be delivered by Sherry Rehman, Federal Minister for Climate Change and Noor ul Huda Shah, an eminent author and poet at the inauguration; Shehan Karunatilaka, Booker Prize winner for 2022 and veteran journalist and author Ahmed Rashid at the closing ceremony. There will be over 200 speakers including 10 international speakers from eight countries (Pakistan, UK, US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Germany and France). As always, the KLF 2023, like the ones before aims to encourage thought-provoking discussions providing an environment of openness, pluralism, and intellectual discourse.

There will be over 60 sessions, including 24 book launches with a mix of both Urdu and English. All sessions will be broadcast live around the world on OUP’s social media channels. Visitors and the online audience will also have the chance to enjoy Urdu and English poetry readings, feature film and a series of short independent film screenings. A first this year will be the presence of two Booker Prize winning authors, Damon Galgut in 2021 and Shehan Karunatilaka for 2022.

A total of 7 literary awards for Pakistani authors will be announced at the opening ceremony. The prizes will recognise pioneering work in Urdu prose and poetry, and English fiction, which are sponsored by Getz Pharma. KLF also celebrates the diversity of languages and cultures across the country by recognising the best books in Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi and Pashto languages. These awards are supported by the Little Book Company (LBC).

Speaking at the press conference, Arshad Saeed Hussain, Managing Director, OUP said, “This year our theme is People, Planet and Possibilities reflecting the major issues that we face viz-a-viz the economy, natural disasters, climate change and our response to these crises. We are excited to once again bring together a diverse group of writers, thinkers, and literary enthusiasts from Pakistan and around the world to share their stories, ideas, and perspectives. This festival is a testament to the power of the written word and the vital role it plays in shaping our communities.”

The 14th KLF will feature live sessions with prominent literary figures, including Muneeza Shamsie, Tariq Rehman, Yasmeen Hamid, Anwar Maqsood, Moni Mohsin, Hameed Shahid, Zulfiqar Kalhoro, Iftikhar Arif, Kishwar Naheed among others. Visitors will also have the opportunity to join discussions on current affairs, education and ed tech, climate justice and importance of Leadership and D&I with experts such as Rashheedah Watts, Ishrat Husain, Michael Kugelman, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Jehan Ara, Miftah Ismael, Ikram Sehgal, Nadeem Hussain, Syed Salim Raza, Hamid Khan, Makhdoom Ali Khan, and Raza Rabbani. The festival will also include panel discussions featuring celebrities such as Khaled Anam, Bee Gul, Sanam Saeed, Sarwat Gillani and Bilal Maqsood among others.

The festival organizers are grateful for this year’s title sponsor, Habib Bank Ltd (HBL) for their generous support and appreciate the contribution extended by Getz Pharma, EBM, NEO Paints, the British Deputy High Commission, the British Council, US Consulate and Lincoln’s Corner, the French Embassy, Goethe Institut, NBP Funds, UBL Funds, Engro, Soya Supreme, Tapal, Gerry’s, Divvy and Herbion. A Special thanks to SMS Security for continuing to partner with us.

The organizers of the 14th KLF are excited to welcome visitors and look forward to the exciting days of enlightening experience and memorable moments.

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