Karachi Literature Festival at Southbank Centre, London

For the first time KLF held beyond border on 20 May 2017 at London’s Southbank Centre (Alchemy Festival), in partnership with Oxford University Press Pakistan, the Southbank Centre, Rukhsana Ahmed, and Bloombsbury Pakistan (whose KLF London team are Nadir Cheema, Nigham Shahid and Tariq Suleman).

Taking place over two weeks, The London Literature Festival focuses on the power of word s and how this can change the world for the better. Concentrating on the themes of freedom, justice and democracy, KLF celebrated the optimism of the human spirit and the ability of the arts to celebrate and transform lives. Other important topics which are brushed under the carpet include domestic violence, harassment, marital rape and so on.

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The annual KLF was launched in March 2010, founded by Ameena Saiyid and Asif Farrukhi, directed by Ameena Saiyid, and produced by Oxford University Press. Inspired by the success of the first two KLFs, the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) was launched in 2011. The momentum begun in Pakistan with the KLF led also to the Islamabad Literature Festival, the Teachers’ Literature Festival and many others.

KLF London started off with the renowned novelist and journalist, Mohammed Hanif’s keynote address giving unique insights into Pakistan’s history, hopes, and dilemmas. Earlier, at the festival opening, Ameena Saiyid, KLF and Islamabad Literature Festival Founder and Director, Asif Farrukhi, KLF and Islamabad Literature Festival Founder, and Adrian Mellor, Managing Director, Asia Education, OUP, welcomed the guests and speakers. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK, Syed Ibn Abbas also spoke on the occasion.

In the welcome note, Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director, Oxford University Press, and Founder/Director,

Karachi, and Islamabad Literature Festivals said,

“We have much to be pleased about in Pakistan which has had the longest period of continuous democratic government. Despite its image, most Pakistanis are moderate because of our Sufi tradition. Today, we are celebrating Pakistan’s diversity and plurality.”


“By holding KLF in London, we are also celebrating 70 years of Pakistan–British friendship, our shared history and future which, I hope, we can together build for the next 70 years. Pakistan and the UK have strong cultural, educational, intellectual, diplomatic, and commercial ties. Hopefully, through collaborative events with Southbank Centre, UK’s cultural hub, we can strengthen our ties and build a foundation for the future”  she added.

Oxford University Press Pakistan, is publishing 70 books for Pakistan’s 70 th birthday and Sponsorship support to the KLF London was proudly provided by Bestway, Arts Council England, Third World Quarterly magazine, Salt n Pepper restaurant, High Commission of Pakistan in London, South Asia Institute of the University of Texas at Austin, and The Pakistan Society.


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Author: Zia Zubery

Wanderlust, Twenty, Business Student, PR Professional with over two years of corporate experience of Branding and Int'l Marketing. Zia Zuberi tweets

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