SOURCE: Asia Society

Asia Society Celebrates 60

April 26, 2016 11:00 ET

Lahore Literary Festival Comes to New York at Asia Society, May 7-8

NEW YORK, NY --(Marketwired - April 26, 2016) - The Lahore Literary Festival (LLF), one of South Asia's premier cultural events, will travel to Asia Society New York on May 7-8. This is the first time that a Pakistani literary festival takes place abroad.

LLF in New York will explore contemporary Pakistan, and feature artists, writers, and cultural commentators. In keeping with Asia Society's mission of promoting mutual understanding between Asia and the U.S., the Festival will present American audience with a more nuanced view of Pakistan, with discussions on fiction and nonfiction writing, music, arts, popular culture, and politics.

Festival participants include former WWF International president Syed Babar Ali; musical artist Zeb BangashNew York Times columnist Roger Cohen; artist Salima Hashmi; former Ambassador to the U.N. Abdullah Hussain Haroon; actor, director and screenwriter Sarmad Khoosat; journalist and foreign policy author Ahmed Rashid; and physicist Arfa Sayeda Zehra. It will also feature a musical performance by the eight-member qawwal ensemble the Saami Brothers.

LLF, founded by Razi Ahmed in 2012 aims to reclaim and employ Lahore's cultural significance and influence. 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 for centuries, inspiring global literature and thought from Milton's Paradise Lost to Kipling's Kim to Massenet's Opera Le Roi de Lahore to John Masters' Bhowani Junction.

The current program agenda follows. Media interested in learning more or RSVPing to attend LLF in New York should contact Asia Society's press office (

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

"Lahore Literary Festival in New York"
Program Details and Agenda

  • Date: May 7-8, 2016
  • Location: Asia Society New York (725 Park Avenue at 70th Street)
  • Tickets: $20 members; $22 students/seniors; $25 nonmembers
  • Social Media: Join the conversation by tweeting and instagramming #LLFNYC2016 and by following @LHRLitFest, and @AsiaSocietyNY.
  • Watch Online: All sessions will be live streamed at Highlights from the Festival will also be archived online.

(Note: All programming is subject to change and will be held at Asia Society New York. All times denoted in EDT)

"... Lahore Literary Festival, a wonder of creativity, eclecticism, ideas and dialogue." -- Roger Cohen, New York Times

"… a celebration of a Pakistan open and engaged with the many ideas of many worlds." -- Lyse Doucet, BBC


5:00 PM: Tea/Coffee Reception

6:00 PM: Pakistan On Stage Performance


10:00 AM: Welcome Remarks

10:30 AM: Literary Pakistan

  • Tasneem Zehra Husain, Pakistan's first female string theorist, author of Only the Longest Threads
  • Bapsi Sidhwa, author of Cracking India, An American Brat and several other novels
  • Bilal Tanweer, author of The Scatter Here Is Too Great
  • Rafia Zakaria, columnist for Dawn, author of The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan
  • Hugh Eakin (moderator), senior editor at The New York Review

11:30 AM: Urdu Literature -- Binding South Asia

  • Tahira Naqvi, writer, translator of authors such as Ismat Chughtai and Khadija Mastur
  • Dr. Frances Pritchett, Professor Emerita, Columbia University
  • Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Professor in history at Forman Christian College, Lahore
  • Dr. Azra Raza (moderator), co-author of Ghalib: Epistemologies of Elegance

12:30 PM: The Promise of Pakistan

  • Manan Ahmed, historian of Islam in South Asia, author of the forthcoming monograph A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and the Origins of Islam in South Asia
  • Stephen P. Cohen, senior fellow in The India Project at Brookings, author of The Idea of Pakistan and several other books
  • Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon, former Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Raza Rumi (moderator), columnist, policy analyst, journalist

2:30 PM: Contemporary Art from Pakistan

  • Salima Hashmi, artist, cultural writer, painter, anti-nuclear weapon activist
  • Sadia Shirazi, architect, curator, writer
  • Salman Toor, contemporary artist
  • Amin Jaffer (moderator), international director for Asian art at Christie's

3:30 PM: Educating Pakistan

  • Syed Babar Ali, former president of WWF International, founder of Lahore University of Management Sciences and Ali Institute of Education.
  • Amna Nawaz, anchor and reporter for ABC News

4:30 PM: U.S.-Pakistan Relations in an Uncertain World

  • Kati Marton, best-selling author, human rights advocate
  • Ahmed Rashid, author of five books, including Taliban and Descent into Chaos: The US and the Disaster in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia
  • Roger Cohen (moderator), op-ed columnist for the New York Times

5:15 PM: Lahore, Kites, and Popular Culture

  • Zeb Bangash, musical artist from Pakistani pop group Zeb and Haniya
  • Ammar Belal, fashion designer
  • Sarmad Khoosat, director of Humsafar and Manto, actor, screenwriter
  • Maryam Wasif Khan (moderator), assistant professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences

8:00 PM: Qawwali Devotional Music from the Sufi Traditions of Pakistan (ticketed separately)

  • Saami Brothers, musical ensemble

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