Lahore Literary Festival Returns to New York

The original "safe space for dangerous ideas," Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) is celebrating its fourth edition in New York, co-hosted by Asia Society. This year, the panelists converge for enlightening discussions on topics as varied as food, literature, arts, and culture; the Belt and Road Initiative's impact on Pakistan, limits on free speech in South Asia, images of the afterlife in Islamic gardens, and much more. The day's panels and discussions will be capped off by a special performance from the renowned actor and orator Zia Mohyeddin and bansuri (flute) player Haider Rahman.

Don't know where to start? Here are some highlights from this year's program:

Actress, author, and food and travel writer Madhur Jaffrey is a James Beard Foundation award-winning cookbook author and the "Godmother of Indian cooking." But more recently, she's returned to her roots as an actress in a new medium: the rap music video. In Mr. Cardamom's "Nani," Jaffrey stars as an iconoclastic grandmother, more concerned with mentoring the next generation of budding criminal entrepreneurs than baby-sitting her grandchildren. 

To see all aspects of Jaffrey's storied career on display, catch her on the panel "Writing Stories of Food," part of the morning session of LLF.

Taymour Soomro is a former corporate lawyer turned fiction writer. His story "Philosophy of the Foot" was recently published by The New Yorker. Read his conversation with the magazine's fiction editor Deborah Treisman and listen to the story, as featured on The Writer's Voice podcast from The New Yorker. See Soomro on the panel "New Fiction, Pakistan's Bold New Voices" during the afternoon session of LLF.

Ayesha Jalal at Lahore Literary Festival in New York, 2018
Ayesha Jalal appears at Lahore Literary Festival in New York in 2018. (Ellen Wallop/Asia Society)

MacArthur Fellow Ayesha Jalal makes her return to LLF in New York, joined by noted scholar of religions Wendy Doniger. Their closing panel tackles the ever-evolving issue of free speech. Right-wing politics and vigilantism in South Asia figure significantly in their discussion as India and Pakistan's shared history and similar present highlights the dangers of extremism to free speech and scholarship. 

Purchase tickets for the morning session of LLF here.

Purchase tickets for the afternoon session of LLF here.