Lahore Literary Festival — Full List of Speakers

Celebrating contemporary Pakistan at Asia Society, May 12, 2018


The Lahore Literary Festival (LLF), one of South Asia's premier cultural events, returns to Asia Society New York for the third year. The "safe place for dangerous ideas" (The Guardian) hosts writers, artists, and commentators speaking on issues affecting Pakistan and the world. The full day of programs includes discussions on fiction and non-fiction, art, architecture, history, and politics. 

Click here to buy tickets for the morning session.

Click here to buy tickets for the afternoon session.

Morning Session (11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.)

11:00 a.m.: Opening remarks by Asia Society; Razi Ahmed, Founder and CEO, Lahore Literary Festival; and Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, New York

11:15-12:00 p.m.: Lahore as Palimpsest 
Exploring the Mughal Aesthetics and Progression to Progressive Artists

• Mehreen Chida-Razvi, specialist on the art and architecture of Mughal South Asia 
• Shahzia Sikander, contemporary artist and MacArthur fellow 
• Zehra Jumabhoy, art critic and art historian specializing in contemporary South Asian Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, U.K.
• Vishakha Desai (moderator), President Emerita of Asia Society and Senior Advisor to the President of Columbia University

12:00-12:45 p.m.: Never a Dull Moment for Fiction in South Asia 
Is New Literature From South Asians Healing and Humanizing a Region Racked by Crime and Volatility?

• Maha Khan Phillips, fiction writer and the author of The Curse of Mohenjo Daro
• Kiran Desai, author of The Inheritance of Loss, winner of the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction
• H. M. Naqvi, fiction writer and the author of Home Boy
• Sabyn Javeri (moderator), author of Nobody Killed Her

1:00-1:30 p.m.: On the Dot 
Waqas Khan’s minimalist drawings, which were recently shown at the Lahore Art Biennale, are deeply inspired by the Sufi poets of South Asia. Khan painstakingly applies with his hand renderings of multiple, minuscule dots, forming weaves and in the organic flow of drawing are disrupted by apertures, which broadly resemble patterns of biological structures and serve as a dialogue between the viewer, nature, and the cosmos. 

• Waqas Khan, contemporary artist based in Lahore and graduate of the National College of the Arts, Lahore
• Alistair Hudson (moderator), director of the Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth 

Afternoon Session (1:45-6 p.m.)

1:45-2:30 p.m.: Extraordinary Architecture, Everyday Lahore
What makes the city extraordinary in the hurly-burly of urban South Asia? 

• Nayyar Ali Dada, Lahore-based Aga Khan Award-winning architect and conservationist 
• Tanvir Hasan, accredited conservation architect who has worked with listed buildings for more than 20 years, both in the U.K. and abroad
• Attiq Uddin Ahmed (moderator), architect, urban designer and faculty member, National College of the Arts, Lahore

2:35-3:20 p.m.: Urdu Zubaan Ki Nai Bastiyan
Traditionally, Urdu has had its citadels in Lucknow, Delhi, Lahore and Hyderabad and, later Karachi. In a globalizing world, with South Asian migration to the West, Urdu has found new homes in New York, Chicago and Toronto, to name a few. In its Westward drift, new centers of poetry and prose circles have emerged as well as new scholarship. We address the idea of Urdu language as a means of adaptability, mobility, and anchorage for the South Asian diaspora in America. In the process, how are the creative expressions in Urdu such as the novel and poem faring?

• Tahira Naqvi, Senior Language Lecturer of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University
• Muhammad Umar Memon, scholar, translator, poet, Urdu Short Story writer, and the editor of The Annual of Urdu Studies
• Younus Sharar, poet
• Saeed Naqvi (moderator), novelist

3:30-4:30 p.m.: Ghost Wars Redux
Have we learnt nothing from history?

 Barnett Rubin, leading expert on Afghanistan and South Asia, author, and Senior Fellow and Director at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University
 Kathy Gannon, The Associated Press Senior Correspondent for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and author of I Is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror
• Zahid Hussain, DAWN columnist and author of The Scorpion’s Tale 
• Moeed Yusuf (moderator), Associate Vice President of the Asia Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace and author of Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments: U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia

4:45-6:00 p.m.  
Keynote Address by Ayesha Jalal: Liberalism and the Muslim Question
Jalal is the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University, with interests in South Asia, the Muslim World; Director of South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies
Followed by a discussion on: 
Pakistan at 70  
Has Pakistan come of age?

• Ayesha Jalal, MacArthur fellow and author of The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics
• Saroop Ijaz, columnist, lawyer, Pakistan representative for Human Rights Watch
• Raza Rumi, Editor, Daily Times; Faculty, Cornell Institute for Public Affairs at Cornell University
• Bilal Qureshi (moderator), culture editor and radio journalist with NPR

This program is part of Asia Society's ongoing initiative Creative Voices of Muslim Asia.

Held in conjunction with the Lahore Literary Festival.

  • Special Event
    Saturday 12 May 2018
    11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    South Asia's premier cultural event returns to New York for the third year. LLF New York explores contemporary Pakistan through discussions on fiction and non-fiction writing, art, architecture, history, and politics.
  • Special Event
    Saturday 12 May 2018
    1:45 - 6 p.m.
    LLF New York will explore contemporary Pakistan, through artists, writers, and commentators. The festival will present American audience with a more nuanced view of Pakistan, with discussions on fiction and nonfiction writing, art, architecture, history and politics.