LAHORE – The two-day Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) concluded on Sunday following a number of thought provoking sessions with literary stalwart and intellectuals.

The last segment of the festival—Band, Baja—brought various musical bands and added jubilation to the event. On the last day, a large number of people mostly youth from every segment of the society participated in the event. A good number of foreigners from various countries also participated passionately in the event.

As many as 17 discussion sessions mostly covering the literature held on Sunday to enlighten art lovers on a wide range of topics relating to almost every aspect of human life.

In the first session ‘Future of Urdu Literature in the Punjab’ Ataul Haq Qasmi‚ Intizar Hussain‚ Asghar Nadeem Syed, Tehseen Firaqi and Ali Usman Qasmi were the panellists while Rashid Rahman moderated the session ‘Missing Stories’ which was addressed by Mohammed Hanif. ‘Commonwealth‚ Nationalism‚ Globalism’ session elaborated the challenges of language and storytelling in the 21st century which was addressed by Chiki Sarkar‚ Jeet Thayil‚ Nadeem Aslam‚ and Shehan Karunatilaka whereas Muneeza Shamsie moderated it. Another session ‘Narrative Forms in Urdu Fiction and Poetry’ brought Afzal Ahmed Syed‚ Ali Akbar Natiq‚ Khalid Toor and Musharraf Ali Farooqi and Ali Madeeh Hashmi to enlighten the audience on the topic. Other sessions including The Discreet Charm of Vina, Manto, Out of it, Women Voices, Children Literature Today, How to Get Filthy rich in Rising Asia, Writing Daughter of the East, The Story of Begum Hazarat Mahal, Discovering Pakistan’s English Poetry, Architecture of Aesthetics and Urbanism and Culture in Conflict were addressed by Noor-Zehra Kazim, Nasreen Rehman, Ayesha Jalal, Ali Sethi, Muneeza Shamsie, Faiza Sultan Khan, Baela Jamil‚ Musharraf Ali Farooqi‚ and Nina Fite, Afia Aslam, Mohsin Hamid, Chiki Sarkar, Linda Bird Francke, Victoria Schofield, Kanize Mourad, Sam Ruddock, Athar Tahir‚ Syeda Henna Babar Ali‚ Khaled Ahmed‚ Navid Shahzad‚ and Samina Rahman, Ahmed Rashid, Ebba Koch‚ Kamil K Mumtaz‚ and Nayyar Ali Dada and Attiqud Din Ahmed.

Sessions with acclaimed authors Tehmina Durrani and Bapsi Sidhwa attracted a large number of people. Durrani talked about her books including ‘My Feudal Lord’, ‘Blasphemy’ and ‘Edhi’. The book ‘My Feudal Lord’ has been translated into 39 languages around the globe. Sharing her experience, she said that she could not have written this book if she had not suffered injustice prevailing in the society. She said her writings were actually a story telling and she preferred to dip into the character. A session namely “Beyond Veil” was specified for interaction between Durrani and her readers. Briefing on the consequences for writing a book, she said, “I was even disowned by my own family besides bitter response from other corners of the society”, she said. Responding questions of the audience and moderator Shahid Zahid, she also highlighted chapter of her upcoming book titled “Happy Thing in Sorrow Times”. The book will be launched next month. The book is an endeavour to reflect that how could the world gain peace when generations after generations were grooming their children teaching and training violence, particularly in war affected areas.

Paying tribute to Abdul Sattar Edhi, Durrani said that he had been inspirational for her ever. “Despite being illiterate, he had generated a network for social welfare across Pakistan,” she added.

Talking about role of the women in development of the society, she put example of Balqees Edhi, saying, “I think it compulsory to mention that once Abdul Sattar told me that his wife was sharing 90 per cent responsibility of his work.”

A session ‘A conversation with Bapsi Sidhwa’ provided an opportunity to the audience to interact with famous writer, who told a lot about her experience and her journey in writing. She also answered questions from audiences.