Despite fears that a truncated festival would not satisfy an eager audience, day 1 at the Lahore Literary Festival was a success. Several talks were filled to capacity and crowds flooded the gardens of the Avari Hotel.
Questions remained: some wondered whether a hotel was the correct venue, others speculated on the exact nature of the festival’s initial derailment. But it can’t be denied that speakers were on top form. Every second statement uttered by Mona Eltahawy garnered applause, and stalwarts like Asif Farukkhi were seen beaming ear to ear.
So what will day 2 have in store for us? Live coverage commences below.
2:45pm: More books for Karachi and Lahore?
2.30pm: Critics have their say
We ask popular critics and writers how their experience of LLF2016 is going. Urdu writer Neelam Bashir has a valid question to ask: “Why is it almost everything about English literature? Why are there always the same writers at LLF?”
While similar opinions have been expressed about the festivals in Karachi and Lahore too, some of us just find the weekend a good break to get out, and are thankful that something is happening at all.
Journalist Ayaz Amir also prefers to look at the brighter side of things. This is his first time at LLF, and he feels similar festivals should take place to promote art and culture.
“When its about books and literature… what else can be better than this?”
2.15pm: Celeb spottings!
Sherry Rehman has been at festival for a while, and even posted and excited selfie when she arrived.
Our reporters also ran into Junaid from The Call, reppin his Ray Bans.
Susan Abulhawa and Antia Anand were spotted at the Liberty Books stall, holding each others’ books!
Meanwhile, Kamila Shamsie and Alexandra Pringle were also there, bonding over book signings and fans.
Kamila even signed one devotee’s tennis ball! Can we say we love her?
For others, signatures suffice. Here is one reader who got her copy of Anita Anand’s book signed.
Indeed, let’s fight the good fight.
1.50pm: Spotted— Literary lovers from Gilgit on a book-hunt
Farmanullah and Faqir Mohammed are here at #LLF2016 from all the way from Gilgit! They’re on a bookhunt for Albert Camus’ The Outsider.
What books is everyone else on the hunt for? What did Mona Eltaway buy?
1.30pm: A standing ovation for photographer Reza Deghati
Deghati, the Iranian-French photojournalist who has published best-selling photo-books, has worked for The National Geographic for decades, and is known worldwide for his coverage of conflict zones and his humanitarian work, is a Joe-Stacco stature guest at this year’s festival.
In the session ‘The Power of Photography: The Human Imperative’ with Tapu Javeri and Arif Mahmood, Reza grips the audience with his powerful, moving stories and photographs from his travels to ridiculous corners of the world.