Razi Ahmed, Founder and CEO, LLF:

A global city under the 12th-century Sultanate, capital of the Mughal Empire under Akbar, and cradle of the modern Punjabi civilization under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lahore has fired the imagination of artists and thinkers for centuries. The Lahore Literary Festival celebrates this history and features writers, opinion leaders, artists, and influencers from Pakistan and abroad each year to showcase the city’s living legacy as a place of civilized discourse and creative endeavor. LLF has been embraced by its resilient host city. It has had the honor of bringing Lahore’s, and Pakistan’s, contemporary artistic, cultural, and literary talent to national and international attention, sparking conversations and discovery. LLF has served to shed new light on important and sometimes-contentious topics of the day through the prism of literature and the arts. For five 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. LLF has held two editions in New York, including one last May. We are delighted to welcome you now to the second annual edition of LLF in London, this year in partnership with the British Library, whose generosity and support have been invaluable. Today, we celebrate Lahore’s longstanding traditions of inquiry, openness, and tolerance while, critically, looking beyond our immediate community, boundaries, and comfort to assess and assert Pakistan’s place in a fast-changing world. On behalf of the LLF Board of Governors, thank you for your support by being here. We are excited about the program we’ve put together and earnestly hope it meets your expectations.

Nusrat Jamil, Director, LLF:

This year Pakistan turned 70. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of our Independence, we are pleased and proud to bring LLF to London for its second annual edition to showcase the rich cultural and literary traditions of our country. LLF in London, like its editions in Lahore and New York, is a labor of love. It is a nonprofit endeavor that began with the sole desire to re-embrace and rekindle the storied syncretic traditions of our great city and country. We are indebted to our sponsors, patrons, friends, speakers, and audiences for helping us make an institution out of LLF in five short years. Thanks, too, to the British Library for its incredible support to this edition of the festival. Events like this have a lot of moving parts and are only possible through teamwork. We, of course, count our audiences as part of our team. We hope you find the day’s talks invigorating and insightful.

Aneela Shah, Treasurer, LLF Overseas Initiatives:

We are thrilled to be working in partnership with the British Library to present today the second edition of LLF in London with a superb lineup of experts and authorities in their fields. We are delighted and honored to be able to present these accomplished individuals before our audiences for what will undoubtedly be edifying sessions on a host of topics—covering literature, music, the arts; especially Pakistan and South Asia—that shape our worldview. Since its inception, LLF has forged strong institutional relationships and we are confident the British-Pakistani community will continue to support our annual London editions. Thank you one and all for embracing LLF as your own.