LLF New York 2016


The Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) occurred in New York City on May 7 and 8.

The two-day ticketed event, LLF in New York, was co-presented with Asia Society and was hosted at 725 Park Avenue.

“For four years now, we’ve had the privilege of bringing some of the most creative and insightful voices in the world to Pakistan’s cultural capital to engage with our writers, artists and audiences,” said Razi Ahmed, LLF’s founder and CEO, “we are delighted now to be taking some of Pakistan’s finest to the creative capital of the U.S.”

LLF in New York, part of a three-year partnership with Asia Society, featured panel discussions with Pakistani writers, artists and opinion leaders, including Ahmed Rashid, Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Bapsi Sidhwa, Dr. Azra Raza, Salima Hashmi, Salman Toor, Sarmad Khoosat, Syed Babar Ali, Tahira Naqvi; other speakers included Amin Jaffer, Francis Pritchett, Hugh Eakin, Roger Cohen. It also featured performances by Zeb and Haniya and qawwali by the Saami Brothers.

This was the first time that a Pakistani literary festival took place abroad. India’s Jaipur Literature Festival has been annually showcasing writers and artists through a one-day program at London’s Southbank Center since 2014.

LLF’s fourth annual edition took place in Lahore on Feb. 20 and 21. Since its debut in 2013, the festival has garnered glowing coverage for Pakistan in the foreign press. The New York Times has called it “a wonder of creativity, eclecticism, ideas and dialogue” and the BBC has cited it as “a celebration of a Pakistan open and engaged with the many ideas of many worlds.”

The New York edition generated keen interest in Pakistan and abroad. “Don’t miss the amazing Lahore Literary Festival at Asia Society,” Marc-André Franche, country director for the UNDP in Pakistan, posted on Facebook. Experience “ambassadors of culture, analysis and literature, all the good and hope for a better Pakistan!”

Tickets, which cost between $20 and $25, were sold out. The event was viewable live on webcast. (All four Lahore editions of the festival have been free to the public.)

Patrons and friends of LLF in New York include Maleeha Lodhi, Aneela Shah, Nusrat Jamil, Hameed Haroon, Marina and Shaukat Fareed, Nighat and Syed Yawar Ali, Sadia and Osman Waheed, Razak Dawood, Maniza Naqvi, Nasreen and Khurshid Kasuri, Spenta Kandawalla, and Farrokh Captain. The event was privately funded.

LLF, founded in 2012, is a nonprofit initiative incorporated in Pakistan under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Asia Society, founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III, is a nonpartisan and nonprofit educational organization that aims at fostering understanding and partnerships between Asian and American people and institutions. LLF in New York is part of Asia Society’s Creative Voices of Muslim Asia initiative, which uses the arts as a springboard to understand the diversity of Islam as a creative inspiration.

LLF New York Schedule* | May 7-8, 2016 | Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue

Saturday, May 7

5 p.m.

Performance: Pakistan on Stage
6 p.m.

Sunday, May 8

Registration and welcome addresses by Asia Society, LLF Founder and CEO Razi Ahmed, and Maleeha Lodhi
10 a.m.

Literary Pakistan
Bapsi Sidhwa, Bilal Tanweer, Rafia Zakaria, and Tasneem Zehra Hussain with Hugh Eakin
10:30 – 11:15 a.m.

Urdu Literature – Binding South Asia
Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Francis Pritchett, and Tahira Naqvi with Dr. Azra Raza
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

The Promise of Pakistan
Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Manan Ahmed, and Stephen P. Cohen with Raza Rumi
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Contemporary Art from Pakistan
Salima Hashmi, Sadia Shirazi, and Salman Toor with Amin Jaffer
2:30 – 3:15 p.m.

Educating Pakistan
Syed Babar Ali with Amna Nawaz
3:30 – 4:15 p.m.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations in an Uncertain World
Ahmed Rashid and Kati Marton with Roger Cohen
4:30 – 5:15 p.m.

Lahore, Kites and Popular Culture
Ammar Belal, Sarmad Khoosat, and Zeb Bangash with Maryam Wasif Khan
5:15 – 6 p.m.

Qawwali Devotional Music from the Sufi Traditions of Pakistan
With Saami Brothers Qawwal (this event is ticketed separately)
8 p.m.

*LLF reserves the right to changes in the program at its discretion.