LLF New York 2019

The Lahore Literary Festival (LLF), one of South Asia’s premier cultural events, returns to Asia Society New York for the fourth year. The “safe place for dangerous ideas” (The Guardian) hosts writers, artists, and commentators speaking on issues affecting Pakistan and the world. The festival aims to present an American audience with a more nuanced view of Pakistan, with discussions on fiction and nonfiction writing, art, architecture, history and politics.

This is a ticketed event.


11 a.m.
Opening Remarks

• Razi Ahmed, Founder and CEO, Lahore Literary Festival
• Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, New York

11:15 – 12:00 p.m.
Lahore, Art and Literary Icons 

• Salima Hashmi, artist, activist and author of The Eye Still Seeks: Pakistani Contemporary Art
• Khaled Ahmed, contributing editor Newsweek Pakistan, and author of Sleepwalking to Surrender: Dealing with Terrorism in Pakistan
• Iftikhar Dadi, Associate Professor, Cornell University
• Raza Rumi (moderator), Director, Park Center for Independent Media, Ithaca College; faculty Cornell Institute for Public Affairs; and Editor NayaDaur Media

12:15 – 1:00 p.m.
Writing Stories of Food

• Madhur Jaffrey, actress, food and travel writer who has authored, among others, the James Beard Hall of Fame cookbook, An Invitation to Indian Cooking
• Sameen Rushdie, author of Indian Cookery
• Sumayya Usmani, writer and author of Summers Under the Tamarind Tree
• Ahmed Ali Akbar (moderator), freelance writer, podcaster, editor and video host

1:00 – 1:45 p.m.
U.S.-Pakistan: Continuing Challenges 

• Richard G. Olson, United States ambassador to Pakistan, 2012-2015, and the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2015-2016
• Shuja Nawaz, former director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, and author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and The Wars Within
• Madiha Afzal, Visiting Fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings Institute, and author of Pakistan Under Siege: Extremism, Society, and the State Within
• Jennifer Griffin (moderator), national security correspondent for Fox News Channel

1:45 – 2:15 p.m.
Lunch Break

2:15 – 3:00 p.m.
New Fiction, Pakistan’s Bold New Voices

• Sarvat Hasin, author of The Wide Night and You Can’t Go Home Again
• Taymour Soomro, former corporate lawyer and author of Philosophy of the Foot, a short story published in The New Yorker
• Zarrar Said, author of Pureland, a fictionalized account of the life of Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s first Nobel laureate
• Osama Siddique (moderator), author and Faculty Member at Harvard Law School, Law

3:15 – 4:00 p.m.
Imagery of the Afterlife in Islamic Gardens

• Nerina Rustomji, Associate Professor of History, St. John’s University, and author of The Garden and the Fire: Heaven and Hell in Islamic Culture 
• Nur Sobers-Khan, Lead Curator for South Asia Collections at the British Library, London, and Associate Professor, Comparative Liberal Studies, Habib University, Karachi

4:15 – 5:00 p.m.  
Stretched Ecosystems: Impact of Belt Road Initiative on Pakistan’s Environmental Ecology

• Aban Marker Kabraji, IUCN Asia Regional Director and recipient of the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence), a Pakistan Civil Award, in 2018 
• Erum Sattar, Professor of Law, Pace University; water rights and water management expert
• Marc-André Franche, Chief of the U.N. Secretary General’s Peacebuilding Fund supporting over 40 countries; formerly the Country Director of the UN’s Development Programme (UNDP) in Pakistan, 2013-2016, where he led a team working on governance and climate change adaptation
• Issam Ahmed, (moderator) is a journalist with the AFP who has formerly written for The GuardianDAWN and Christian Science Monitor

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.  
Free Speech in South Asia

• Ayesha Jalal, MacArthur fellow and author of The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics 
• Wendy Doniger, former Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of History of Religions at the University of Chicago and author of Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva and Hindu Myths: A Sourcebook, among others
• Manan Ahmed (moderator), Associate Professor, Columbia University