LLF London 2019

The London edition of the celebrated Lahore Literary Festival returns to the British Library for a one-day extravaganza devoted to contemporary Pakistan covering literature, music, art, popular culture and more.

Speakers include authors Fatima Bhutto and Elif Shafak, historian Ayesha Jalal, artists Waqas Khan and Raqib Shaw, former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and politician and former diplomat Sherry Rehman.

An additional event with The Saami Brothers Qawwal in performance follows the Festival. This is ticketed separately – Book here.

11:30 Registration

12:00-12:15 Theatre

Opening remarks and inauguration of the Festival by H E Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, High Commissioner for Pakistan in the United Kingdom; Dame Carol Black, Chair of the British Library; Razi Ahmed, Founder and CEO Lahore Literary Festival

12:15-13:15 Theatre

Gag Order: Negotiating the Imperative of Liberty

As space for dissent and discourse appears to shrink around the world, including in the West, an assessment of whether and how citizens, journalists, pressure groups can defend civil liberties in the new world disorder of fake news and information overload.

Alan Rusbridger, Former editor-in-chief of The Guardian, and Principal, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University
Sherry Rehman, Leader of the Opposition, Senate of Pakistan, and former diplomat and editor of The Herald
Elif Shafak, author, most recently of the Booker-nominated 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World
 Yalda Hakim (moderator), BBC broadcaster

12:15–13:15 Eliot Room

Wish You Were Here

An exploration of historical perspectives and storytelling through a fascinating tour-by-postcards of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Omar Khan, author of Paper Jewels: Postcards from the Raj (1892-1947) 
 Divia Patel (moderator), Senior Curator of South Asian Art at the V&A, and author of India Contemporary Design: Fashion, Graphics, Interiors

13:30–14:30 Theatre

Dialectics of Dislocation

Examining the impact of war and dislocation on fiction, resistance to narratives of victimhood, and the rise of non-English-speaking agency and soft power.

Fatima Bhutto, columnist and author, whose works include Songs of Blood and Sword, and, most recently, The Runaways. Her 363-minute audiobook New Kings of the World: Dispatches from Bollywood, Dizi, and K-Pop, was released in September
Nikesh Shukla (moderator), writer, whose novels include Coconut Unlimited, Meatspace and The One Who Wrote Destiny. He is host of the Subaltern podcast and editor of The Good Immigrant, a collection of essays from 21 British writers of color

13:30–14:30 Eliot Room

Lady Noon

Celebrating the Austrian-born former first lady of Pakistan, Viqarunnissa Noon, who participated in the freedom movement of India and devoted her life to the education of women

Paul Flather, Chair of the Vicky Noon Educational Foundation, fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford University and former deputy editor of the New Statesman
Salima Hashmi, Contemporary artist, gallerist, curator, author, and former principal of the National College of Arts University, Lahore
Omar Khan, author of Paper Jewels: Postcards from the Raj (1892-1947) 
Rosemary Raza (moderator), former diplomat in the British Foreign Service who researches and writes on the work and lives of the Subcontinent’s women writers

14:45–15:45 Theatre

Curtains Up Kashmir

In August, the 72-year-old Kashmir crisis drew global attention again. The clarion works of Kashmiri writer Mirza Waheed present the real, human stories behind the saffron curtain

Mirza Waheed, author of The Collaborator, The Book of Gold Leaves, and Tell Her Everything
Victoria Schofield, historian and commentator on international affairs, whose many books include Kashmir in the Crossfire and Kashmir in Conflict: India, Pakistan and the Unending War
Sonia Faleiro (moderator), author of The Girl (2006), Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay’s Dance Bars (2010), and 13 Men (2015).

14:45–15:45 Eliot Room

The Meditative Dot

Inspired by Sufi verse, Lahore-based artist Waqas Khan’s minimalist drawings use multiple minuscule dots, which serve as a dialogue between the viewer, nature, and the cosmos. His work is part of the permanent collections at the British Museum and at Manchester Museum.

Waqas Khan, artist
Salima Hashmi, artist, gallerist, curator, author, and former principal of the National College of Arts University, Lahore
Alistair Hicks, author of The Global Art Compass, formerly the curator of The Crime of Mr Adolf Loos group show and Senior Curator at Deutsche Bank Prize.

16:00–16:45 Theatre

Paradise Lost?: Mughals, Mirrors and Memories of Kashmir

London-based artist Raqib Shaw’s Kashmiri childhood informs the opulence of his intricately laid, jewel-like surfaces, where carnage and the carnal lie just beneath the gleaming fantastical 

Raqib Shaw, artist
Mehreen Chida-Razvi, specialist on the art and architecture of Mughal South Asia and research associate, Department of History of Art and Archaeology, SOAS
Zehra Jumabhoy, critic and historian specializing in contemporary South Asian  art; associate lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art

16:00–16:45 Eliot Room

Moving Mountains: The Ghosts of K2

Mick Conefrey tells the epic story of the attempt to scale the world’s second highest peak, K2, known as the Savage Mountain, and explores why it remains the ‘mountaineer’s mountain,’ despite a history steeped in controversy and death
Hugh Thompson (moderator) travel writer, filmmaker and explorer. His The Green Road Into Trees: A Walk Through England won the 2014 Wainwright Prize for nature and travel writing

16:00–16:45 Chaucer Room

Go West: Pakistan’s Global Screen

Increasingly watched in cinemas, TV screens and social media platforms across the world, what is the impact of Pakistani TV serials and films on Pakistani society and the diaspora?

Armeena Khan, film and television actress and model who has won several local industry awards for her work. In 2017, she was awarded the Women Empowerment Award at the Pakistan Achievement Awards.
Ainy Jaffri, Pakistani actress and model who has worked in numerous TV and film productions, including most recently Tajdeed-e-Wafa (2018-2019) on TV and Balu Mahi (2017) in film.
Haroon Rashid, senior journalist at the BBC Asian Network, he is considered a South Asian entertainment expert
Adnan Malik, Pakistani film and television actor, director and producer. He is also widely known for his activism, including campaigning for women’s rights and environmental causes.
Fifi Haroon (moderator), historian and author whose work focuses largely on India, and the Indian Subcontinent in general, including but not limited to Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling

17:00–18:00 Theatre

Ayesha Jalal – Past-Presentism: History and the Recovery of Imagination

A closing keynote lecture by Ayesha Jalal

Ayesha Jalal is Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University specializing in the history, culture and politics of modern South Asia, and decolonization in Asia and Islam. She is a former MacArthur Fellow whose works include, Self and Sovereignty: the Muslim Individual and the Community of Islam in South Asia, and Democracy and Authoritarianism in  South Asia: a Comparative and Historical Perspective


Event: Lahore Literary Festival 2019

Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB

When: Saturday, October 26, 2019, 11:30-18:00

Price: £40.00
Library Members: £40.00
Seniors (60+): £35.00
Students: £32.00
Registered Unemployeds: £32.00
Under-18s: £32.00

Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546 (boxoffice@bl.uk)

Patrons: Taimur Hassan; Lina and Ali Munir; Nighat and Syed Yawar Ali; Neelum Amin; Shahnaz Lockwood

A very special thanks to Ameena Sayid, Emily Hannam, Niloufer Patel and Zehra Jumabhoy


High Commission for Pakistan, London

*This programme may be subject to change at the discretion of the Lahore Literary Festival