The second edition of the Adab Festival will commence on January 31 and continue until February 2 at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi. This was announced by Ameena Saiyid, founder of the event, during a press conference on Wednesday.
This year, the festival’s organisers have also arranged a free four-day creative writing workshop for aspiring writers, preferably between 16 and 39 years old, starting January 27, who will be taught by authors including Aamer Hussein, Sheheryar B Sheikh, Adania Shibli, HM Naqvi and Uzma Aslam Khan.
Another unique feature of the festival will be an interactive session in which people could ask a panel of experts, comprising Dr Ayesha Mian, Dr Humair Yusuf and Zehra Moinuddin, about their emotional issues, even anonymously in writing if they like to. This conversation has been dedicated to the memory of slain social activist Sabeen Mahmud.
Ameena said a ride hailing service would also provide 15 per cent discount to the people commuting to and from the event. Also charged valet parking service would be available to those coming by their own cars.
Referring to the Karachi Literature Festival, one of the landmark annually literary events of the city that she had also co-founded, Ameena commented that the seed of literature festivals’ movement that she and Asif Farrukhi, author and co-founder of the Adab Fest, had planted over a decade ago had taken root and was now flowering and blooming across Pakistan.
Farrukhi said that a fear is settling down in the society as the people are going away from the books and the holding of the festival is an effort to diminish this gap. He added that the event will also launch Urdu translations of Hussein’s short stories and Rabisankar Bal’s Bengali novel Dozakhnama.
Poet Zehra Nigah, who is scheduled to hold a talk over resistance and protest in the literature during the event, reflected over the perception about the city that its violent past has created in the minds of non-residents and observed that only such literary evenings could change that.
“People ask me if we could go out in the city, after sunset. Is it safe? And I tell them that here literature festivals are held which remain buzzing with people from the morning till the night. You could see crowds converged to the sections where the books are showcased,” she said.
Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Ali Shallwani said that the administration of the city was already investing in inculcating the importance of books among the youth and for this, it had established a street library at the Metropole signal where people could easily access books. “The city is known internationally and slowly it is gaining back its lost glory with the help of festivals like these,” he remarked.
Adab Fest director and Kathak dance artist Shayma Saiyid said a qawwali performance by Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad ensemble, dance performance and comedy will be part of the festival as the concept of ‘Adab’ is vast and inclusive of such arts. The event also includes a Mushairah with celebrated poet Iftikhar Arif in the chair.