Karachi Literature Festival in London: 20 May 2017, Southbank Centre
*Every effort will be made to adhere to this programme. However, the KLF organizers reserve the right to change the programme at any time.
11 - 11.30 a.m. Inauguration in Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall
KLF-ILF Founder, Director Ameena Saiyid, KLF-ILF Founder Asif Farrukhi, and Oxford University Press Asia Education Division Managing Director Adrian Mellor, welcome guests and speakers; and Mohammed Hanif starts the day with unique insights into Pakistan’s history, hopes, and dilemmas.
Level 5 Function Room
St Paul's Roof Pavilion
Weston Roof Pavilion
Blue Room (CHILDREN)
11.45 a.m. - 12.45 p.m.
TRANSPHOBIA AND MISOGYNY: IS LEGISLATION MAKING TRANSGENDER PEOPLE AND WOMEN SAFER? Ali Zaidi, Faizan Fiaz and Leyla Jagiella discuss the legislations around transgender people and women in Pakistan. Moderator: Claire Pamment.
11.45 a.m. - 12.45 p.m.
RELUCTANT RETURNERS: MIGRANTS, REFUGEES AND MEMORIES OF THE HOMELAND Kamila Shamsie, Qaisra Shahraz and Mirza Waheed explore characters and fictions inspired by exile and displacement. Moderator: Claire Chambers.
11.45 a.m. - 12.45 p.m.
PAKISTANI RENAISSANCE? THE BEST IN CINEMA, REPORTAGE, THEATRE AND FASHION Television Actor Atiqa Odho Filmmaker Faris Kermani, Designer Maheen Khan and Journalist Cyril Almeida in discussion. Moderator: Fifi Haroon
11.45 a.m. - 12.45 p.m.
STORYTIME WITH OUR FAVOURITE SPYING GRANDMA: DADI 007 Jungly Jadoogars, who sold out in London last year, weave their magic with a re-telling of classic folk tales. Designed specially for KLF-London, this immersive theatre piece with actors, puppets and animation is spell-binding.
Clore Ballroom, 12.45 - 1.15 p.m. Sur tou Milaao: A Musical Medley from Pakistan Khaled Anam celebrates the diversity of Pakistani music, performing pop, folk, sufi, golden great Pakistani film and TV songs, as well as mystical magical numbers.
1.30 - 2.30 p.m.
SATRANGI MUSHAIRA: an open mic opportunity for a gathering of poets to recite their latest offering
Harris Khalique, Basir Kazmi, Amanat Mughal, Nuzhat Abbas, Zakir Hussain, Jasvir Kang, Jamil Panezai, and Ishrat Afreen moderated by Asif Farrukhi
1.30 - 2.30 p.m.
BLAMING THE ELITE: CLASS, GREED AND GENDER IN CONTEMPORARY PAKISTAN
Taimur Rahman, Moni Mohsin, and H. M. Naqvi weigh up the challenge of portraying Pakistan’s gender and class divide, moderated by Rukhsana Ahmad
1.30 - 2.30 p.m.
MADRASSAS AND MONTESSORIS: ARE PRIVATE SCHOOLS KEEPING MADRASSAS AT BAY? Educationists, entrepreneurs and experts including Farid Panjwani, Ahmereen Reza, Mona Kasuri and Ameena Saiyid debate the dangers of poor provision, moderated by Nigham Shahid.
1.30 - 2.30 p.m.
BRAVE MALALA AND THE MAGIC AMAI - FILM AND STORY-TIME WITH FAUZIA MINALLAH Artist and activist Fauzia Minallah presents her animated film, dedicated to Malala Yousafzai, delighting all with stories of the adventures of Amai, a magic bird made of light and stars.
Level 5 Function Room
St Paul's Roof Pavilion
Weston Roof Pavilion
Blue Room (CHILDREN)
2.45 - 3.30 p.m.
BARONESS SAYEEDA WARSI: THE ENEMY WITHIN
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi discusses her ideas and book The Enemy Within: A Tale of Muslim Britain, with Suniya Qureshi.
2.45 - 3.45 p.m: AGAINST ALL ODDS: THE PRICE OF PROSPERITY IN PAKISTAN TODAY. Shuja Nawaz, Maleeha Lodhi, Ishrat Husain, and Victoria Schofield analyse geopolitical and internal challenges facing Pakistan. Moderator: Mukulika Banerjee
2.45 - 3.45 p.m.
URDU KI ZID MAI: AT LOGGERHEADS: URDU VS ENGLISH VS REGIONAL LANGUAGES
Basir Kazmi, Ishrat Afreen and Harris Khalique examine if Urdu is under threat from English or the regional languages. Moderator: Asif Farrukhi
3.15 - 4.15 p.m
ADVENTURES OF MUNNA MAN AND BABY LADY
Shahbano Bilgrami reads from her new collection. Two Pakistani-American sisters travel to Karachi in disguise each summer to fight crime as superheroes.
3.45 - 5 p.m
Nimra Bucha, Vayu Naidu, Amrit Kaur Lohia, Sarah Ansari introduce a medley of readings, film clips, recitals, dance and poetry about the Partition of India. Moderator: Urvashi Butalia.
4 - 5 p.m.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: WRITERS AND POETS FROM PAKISTAN
A session of poetry and prose readings by writers of Pakistani origin including Imtiaz Dharker, Aamer Hussein, Zaffar Kunial.
Moderator: Muneeza Shamsie
4 - 5 p.m: GOOD MUSLIM, BAD MUSLIM: DIASPORA PAKISTANIS CAUGHT IN POST BREXIT HATE-STORM
Ziauddin Sardar, Farooq Bajwa, and Iftikhar Malik debate the challenges faced by diaspora Pakistanis in Europe and how they cope. Moderator: Humeira Iqtidar
5 - 6 p.m.
LAKDI KI KAATHI: SONG-TIME WITH KHALED ANAM
The veteran Pakistani actor and musician plays the pied piper, bringing catchy tunes and foot-tapping merriment for all.
5.15 - 6.15 p.m.
From Stage to the Silver Screen: Nimra Bucha in Conversation with Rehan Sheikh Hear a lively conversation between Nimra Bucha and Rehan Sheikh about performance, text, locale and medium. The two popular TV and film stars intersperse their conversation with performances and readings taken from their favourite TV dramas, stage plays and films
5.15 - 6.15 p.m: KARACHI: CITY OF LIGHTS AND GANGS
Laurent Gayer, Nichola Khan, Sobia Ahmad Kaker, Omar Shahid Hamid, Kamran Asdar Ali discuss the battle for Karachi and its resilience and sparkle in spite of gang wars and political conflicts. Moderator: Owen Bennett-Jones.
5.15 - 6.15 p.m: TWEETING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE: HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IS INFLUENCING THE POLITICAL SCENE. Taimur Rahman, Umber Khairi, and Umair Javed discuss the impact of the Twitterati, Instagrammers and Facebook addicts on Pakistan’s culture. Can social media change the political scene in Pakistan? Moderator: Ayesha Ijaz Khan.
Clore Ballroom, 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m.
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC CONCERT: Built around the interaction between the rubab and the guitar, Peshawar-based KHUMARIYAAN’s fusion brand of Pashtun folk music has been described as 'trance-like’ and ‘addictive'.
In celebration of Pakistan's 70th birthday the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) will be held outside Pakistan for the first time on 20 May 2017 at London’s Southbank Centre (Alchemy Festival), in partnership with Oxford University Press Pakistan, the Southbank Centre, Rukhsana Ahmed, and Bloombsbury Pakistan (whose KLF London team are Nadir Cheema, Nigham Shahid and Tariq Suleman).
The annual KLF was launched in March 2010, founded by Ameena Saiyid and Asif Farrukhi, directed by Ameena Saiyid, and produced by Oxford University Press. Inspired by the success of the first two KLFs, the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) was launched at end-2011. The momentum begun in Pakistan with the KLF led also to the Islamabad Literature Festival (launched in 2013), the Teachers' Literature Festival (launched in 2014), and many others.
Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. The first book was printed in Oxford in 1478, two years after the printing press came to England. Today OUP has offices in 53 countries, publishes in more than 90 languages, and is the world’s largest university press. OUP Pakistan was founded 1952 and is committed to promoting reading, and improving education and the intellectual quality of life in Pakistan. It has gained a reputation for publishing academic, general, and reference books which are considered authoritative and definitive works on Pakistan. It has an extensive school and higher education publishing programme of high-quality books cognizant of the local environment. Included in the countless praise earned by OUP Pakistan are congratulations by British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes on the series of poetry books written in English by Pakistanis (postcard from Ted Hughes to OUP Pakistan in Pakistan's 50th birth year, 1997). Dr Ralph Braibanti of Duke University, NC wrote: The contribution made by OUP Pakistan to Pakistan Studies is remarkable. Your steady flow of first-rate scholarly studies constitute the major corpus of research on Pakistan which no scholar can ignore. You have transformed the field from one of intellectual aridity to one of verdant respectability. (1997 letter to OUP Pakistan).
The Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre. It was founded with the Festival of Britain in 1951. Its year-round festival programme encompasses art, theatre, dance, classical and contemporary music, literature and debate, and features world-class artists from across the globe. It reaches 6.25 million people a year, through over 5,000 events. Its annual 11-day Alchemy festival, of which the KLF will be a part on 20 May, showcases the rich cultural connections between South Asia and the UK. Now in its eighth year, Alchemy has grown to become the largest festival inspired by South Asian culture outside of the subcontinent.
Bloomsbury Pakistan is a non-profit organisation. In 2001, a group of Pakistani scholars launched the Oxford University Pakistan Discussion Forum which became a hub for debates on South Asia. By 2006 the Forum’s hub moved to SOAS (University of London), and began influencing the movement to restore democracy, human rights, and civil liberties in Pakistan through creating public discourse, building connections among academics and professionals working on (or wanting to work on) Pakistan, and publishing. In addition to social sciences and humanities academics, Bloomsbury has hosted Pakistani newspaper editors, analysts, and writers (fiction and non-fiction), for broad-based discourse.
Participants (in alphabetical order)
Renowned short story writer, Aamer Hussein was born in Karachi in 1955 and moved to London in 1970. He studied Persian, Urdu and History at SOAS. He is the author of seven acclaimed collections of short fiction, including Mirror to the Sun, This Other Salt, Turquoise, Cactus Town: Selected Stories, Insomnia, The Swan’s Wife, and the forthcoming Love and its Seasons. He has also published a novella, Another Gulmohar Tree, and a novel The Cloud Messenger. He edited Kahani: Short Stories by Pakistani Women. He has published short fiction in Urdu in Dunyazad, and is a regular columnist for the book pages of Dawn (Karachi). Hussein is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies (London University), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He has contributed to the Oxford University Press anthologies Dragonfly in the Sun and Leaving Home, and the title story to Fires in an Autumn Garden.
Ahmereen Reza is the former Country Director of Aman Foundation UK. She is the former CEO and now Director of the British Pakistan Foundation, an umbrella organisation that connects, engages and builds capacity of British Pakistani professionals, students, and charities across Britain. Ahmereen is the co-founder of Developments in Literacy Trust UK, a charity that educates girls in remote and rural Pakistan and funds literacy courses for British Multi-ethnic minority mothers of under-performing students in the UK. Ahmereen has given priority to mentoring young first offenders toward a life without crime. Ahmereen received her Masters from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a focus on grass-roots Community-Based Sustainable Development. Early in her career, as an architect, she worked with NGOs to strengthen local communities through advocacy and planning. Much of her work has focused on evolving effective community-based self-help and gender equality programmes, promoting community advocacy, and pushing for legislative reforms. Ahmereen was awarded the British Communities Honours Award in October 2015. In September 2014 she received the Eurasian Award recognising her work with women & multi-ethnic minority communities in the UK. In April 2013 she was recognised under the Social and Humanitarian banner as 'Women of the Future' at the Asian Women of Achievements Awards. She has served on the founding committee of the British Pakistan Foundation.
Ali Zaidi’s art locates similarities between culture, class, gender, language, race and religion, by creating a safe holding space to blossom and heal. Eclectic in his approach, he uses photography, film, theatre, live art, social media, food gatherings, touch and massage, with an aim to explore. Ali’s art bridges between the rational and the emotional, creating an intangible understanding of being.
Recently he worked as a Creative Producer on Kadvi Hava, a feature film in India whilst developing a new body of work 2001 UnMasked: hyper-real-portraits of gender. His works have been seen and experienced nationally and internationally. Zaidi co-founded the multi-award-winning arts organisation motiroti in 1996, where he remained as its Co-Artistic Director and later served as the Artistic Director from 2004-12.
“My practice is informed by differences that create the vibrancy of our contemporary cultures, communities and civic engagement. Using art as a tool, I explore connectivity of people. Focusing on the personal and collective identities to create spaces that are mutable and inclusive. Through co-authorship and working across disciplines, whilst celebrating the differences, similarities are teased out to reveal the common good.”
Amanat Mughal is an actor, poet, drama writer, and drama director from Larkana (Naudero). He was a Progamme Camper at Radio Pakistan, Karachi. He has acted both in Urdu and Sindhi dramas. He got a best actor award in 2005 from KTN TV.
Ameena Saiyid OBE is the Managing Director of Oxford University Press Pakistan, founder and director of the Karachi and Islamabad Literature Festivals, and co-founder of both the Children’s and the Teachers’ Literature Festivals. She is the first Pakistani woman to be: appointed head of a multinational in Pakistan; awarded the OBE by the British Queen of England; and elected President of the 150-year-old Overseas Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The OBE recognized her services to women’s rights, education, democracy, intellectual property rights, and Anglo-Pakistan relations. The government of France awarded her a Knighthood (Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) for her contribution to Arts and Literature.
Amrit Kaur Lohia is a Sarangi player and vocalist in the genres of Punjabi folk, jazz and soul. She learns Sarangi from Shri Surjeet Singh Aulakh, senior student of Pandit Ram Narayan. Born and raised in London, she tours internationally as a performer and workshop facilitator. She also trained as a theatre director at the Young Vic and has composed music for theatre productions and the BBC. In the UK, she is a youth worker, mentoring youth offenders and children in foster care. She is also the founder of humanised.org a social enterprise dedicated to community cohesion and empowering individuals with historical and cultural education delivered through world music and drama. As well as this, she is an ambassador for several charities and is currently a Global Youth Ambassador for A World at School, alongside Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi. Lohia studied BA and MA History at SOAS, University of London, specialising in South Asia and is currently writing her first book, exploring the experiences of women in Punjab during World War One.
Founder of the Karachi Literature Festival, Asif Farrukhi is an author, critic, translator and man of letters. Seven collections of his short fiction and two collections of his critical essays have been published. He has also published translations of prose and poetry from contemporary writers and two drama adaptations have been staged. He is the editor of the literary journal Duniyazad and a new series of selections from major Urdu short stories, being published by Oxford University Press.
He has written a book-length study of the life and works of Intizar Husain. For his distinguished work, he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Literary Award by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 1997 and the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan. He is associated with the Habib University as Director of the Arzu Centre for Vernacular Languages and Humanities.
Atiqa Odho - a household name known to many, is more than just that, she is an entrepreneur, social activist and more importantly an actor. Her career spans a little over three decades, the roots of which were embedded when she took her first step in the industry as a model, moving on to establish herself as a professional stylist. From there on, she went into starring in television shows, series, soaps, serials, telefilms, commercials and much more. Odho captivated her audience with utter charm and continues to do so till this day. Driven by passion, she ventured into the beauty industry by launching her own cosmetics line by the name of Odho Cosmetics, as well as took the production industry by storm by starting her own production firm, Odho Productions.
Over the years, Odho has turned into a symbol of beauty & finesse. She breathed life into many tremendous roles and her stronghold over the hearts of people remained intact one after another project. Some of her prominent roles were seen in 'Sitara aur Mehrunnisa', 'Mujhey Chand Chahye', 'Bahu Begum', 'Tum Na Milay Tou' and more recently 'Humsafar'. Odho believes in propelling her career further with determination & commitment and her plan to continue working is fuelled by her drive to achieve more on her journey as a public figure.
Ayesha Ijaz Khan is a lawyer and a writer. After working for an American and a Pakistani law firm in the field of international finance law, she took a break from her legal career and wrote a novel. Rodeo Drive to Raja Bazaar is an immigrant's tale narrated by a young girl straddling two worlds, which addresses the impact of Islamophobia and reverse migration on immigrant Pakistani children. Through her writing and broadcasting efforts, Ayesha has spoken out against racial profiling of Muslims in the West, and has also argued for greater women's rights and tolerance in Muslim-majority countries. Her socio-political commentary has appeared in The Guardian, Counterpunch, Huffington Post and The World Today. She wrote a regular column for Express Tribune and also contributed to Dawn, The News, Daily Times and The Friday Times in Pakistan. She has appeared as a guest in television and radio broadcasts for CBC, BBC, VOA as well as several Pakistani channels. She has a Bachelors in Business Administration from The College of William & Mary, a Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law, and is a member of the New York State Bar.
Born in Pakistan (1953), Basir studied and taught English at the Government College Lahore. He edited Ravi (1974). He was the news editor/reader for the BBC’s Asian Programme (1990-91) and a Literature Adviser to the North West Arts Board (1993-1996). Basir has taught at a few high schools, colleges and two universities (Bradford & Chester) in the UK. Basir’s collected works Shajar Honay Tak (2015) includes four collections of poetry, one long and three short plays. English translation of his long play Bisaat was published as The Chess Board (1997) and of poetry as Passing Through (2014). Basir has also written extensively on the life and poetry of his father Nasir Kazmi (1925-1972), a famous Urdu poet. Basir won a North West Playwrights Workshops Award in 1992. His plays were performed at many Northern theatres. His poem, ‘Taking Time’, selected by the Poems for the Waiting Room Project (2001), was displayed in UK hospitals and clinics. One of his couplets, with English translation, was carved in stone and installed at McKenzie Square Slough, UK in 2008. Basir has been awarded an MBE (2013) for Services to Literature as a Poet.
Claire Chambers is a Senior Lecturer at the University of York, where she researches and teaches literature from South Asia, the Arab world, and their diasporas. She is the author of British Muslim Fictions: Interviews with Contemporary Writers (Palgrave Macmillan: 2011) and Britain Through Muslim Eyes: Literary Representations, 1780−1988 (Palgrave Macmillan: 2015). The latter is a literary history of Muslim writing in Britain from the eighteenth century to Salman Rushdie’s publication of The Satanic Verses. Claire is now writing the sequel, Muslim Representations of Britain, 1988−Present. She will also publish a collection of her essays for Dawn and other outlets later this year, entitled Rivers of Ink: Selected Writing (OUP, 2017). Finally, she is co-editor of Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora (Routledge: 2015). Her research has been supported by funding from HEFCE, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). She publishes widely in such journals as Postcolonial Text and Contemporary Women’s Writing. Claire is also Editor (with Rachael Gilmour at Queen Mary University of London) of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature.
Claire Pamment is Assistant Professor of World Theatre in the Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance at the College of William and Mary, a Fellow of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Worship and the Arts (2015-16), and she has taught in theatre and media programmes in Pakistan for over a decade. Claire’s research focuses on South Asian popular theatre and performance, with interests in marginality, transgendering and Muslim cultures. As a theatre practitioner, she has worked as a dramaturg and director in the UK and in Pakistan. Recently, she co-directed with Iram Sana (Olomopolo Media) Teesri Dhun (The Third Tune), a devised documentary theatre about transgender struggles in Pakistan developed out of her present research, with a khwajasara and trans* cast, supported by an SSHRC grant. Teesri Dhun first premiered at Alhamra Lahore (2015), was staged at various US universities in Spring 2016, and was revived in Pakistan in Fall 2016. Her articles have been published in TDR, Comedy Studies and Asian Theatre Journal, and numerous books. Claire's first book Comic Performance in Pakistan: The Bhānd (Palgrave) is being released this month.
Cyril Almeida is a senior columnist, reporter, and assistant editor at Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English daily. His areas of interest include national politics, security policy, and regional affairs. He is a Rhodes scholar (2004) and received a second BA in Jurisprudence from Oxford University. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics from the Lahore University of Management Sciences in 2003.
Faizan Fiaz is a filmmaker and journalist who reported from Pakistan for nearly a decade for CCTV News, the Associated Press, The Daily Telegraph, Radio France International and others. Poshida is their first documentary which uncovers the hidden lives of LGBT Pakistanis with historical, social and political context.
Farid Panjwani is the founding Director at the Centre for Research and Evaluation in Muslim Education (CREME), UCL Institute of Education. He has academic background in philosophy of education, business administration, international development and Islamic Studies. Dr Panjwani’s research and writing covers several themes such as interface between religious and citizenship education, globalisation and religious/cultural diversity, social cohesion in contemporary societies and modern Muslim reforms. His DPhil from Oxford was on the role of faith schools in liberal societies. He also has an MA from University of London and an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi. He has worked on several curriculum and teacher education projects and has acted as consultant to many organisations both nationally and internationally. Dr Panjwani has a wide range of experience in teaching spanning Italy, Canada, Tunisia and Pakistan. His current researches are on critical pedagogy, teaching philosophy in Muslim faith schools and the pedagogical approaches to religious diversity.
Faris Kermani has been making television programmes both dramas and documentaries for Channel 4, BBC, Aljazeera English and PTV for the last thirty years or
So. For Channel 4 documentaries like “Faiz: A poet in Troubled Times”, a bio doc on the life and politics of the famous Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, “The Bangladesh Story”, a three part series on the civil war and the creation of Bangladesh, “Family Pride” an Asian Soap starring among others Zia Moyeuddin, Marc Zuber, Talat Hussain and Sudha Bucher, and “Karachi Kops”, a five part observational series, and “Seven Wonders of the Muslim World”. For BBC “The Life of Muhammad” a three part landmark documentary about the life of the prophet, “The Ottomons: Europes Muslim Emperors”, “Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth”, on the largest gathering of people in the world that takes place every twelve years. For Aljazeera English, The Colony, Chile’s Dark Past” about a Nazi cult in Chile, and “Growing up Guantanamo” about the youngest detainee held for two years in Guatanamo Bay.
Farooq Bajwa is a specialist on the history of Pakistan and the region as well as a prominent lawyer in London. His published books include
1. Pakistan and the West: The First Decade, an objective study of Pakistan's foreign relations from 1947 to 1957
2. Pakistan: An Historical and Contemporary Look, which is now a standard textbook in Pakistan.
3. From Kutch to Tashkent; The Indo-Pakistan War of 1965
Farooq Bajwa turned to the law having taught history and politics at university for several years, but his interest in Pakistan's history continued and years of research, using memoirs, declassified documents and previously unpublished interviews, have gone into his latest book which describes the military, diplomatic and political events of the second Kashmir War. Farooq Bajwa is a graduate of UCL and obtained his PhD in International Relation from the London School of Economics.
Fauzia Minallah is an artist, author and illustrator for children. She started painting at age 12, and received her M.Sc in Communication Design in 1991 from the Pratt Institute, New York. She works in different mediums such as painting, slate engravings and animation. Her prize-winning animation for children Amai the Bird of Light has been shown in different festivals nationally and internationally.
Fifi Haroon has been a journalist for over 20 years and is known for her knowledgeable writing on cinema, pop culture and the performing arts in major publications including The Independent and Newsweek Pakistan. With degrees in politics, law and Media Anthropology – the last as a Chevening Scholar – she earned a distinction from the University of London for her MA dissertation on Kashmir and gender in South Asian Cinema. Fifi was previously Head of International Content for the GEO TV Network, launching channels in UK and Pakistan. She produced Pakistani television's first live concert from Wembley, "The Rhythms of the Indus" from the Royal Albert Hall and the "60 Years of Pakistan" Festival from Trafalgar Square. She has also advised the Pakistan President on media issues. In 2012 Fifi joined BBC Media Action as Pakistan Project Director and is now a Producer/presenter for BBC World Service. Her BBC Urdu interviews of Pakistani celebrities are highly popular; she also reports for the BBC Arts Hour on Pakistani arts. She has been recognised as an "emerging leader" at the BBC by Director-General Tony Hall's leadership scheme.
Fifi sang with the iconic Pakistani band Junoon and tweets to over 60,000 followers as @fifiharoon.
H.M. Naqvi is the award-winning author of Home Boy. Published by Random House in 2009, the debut was hailed as "a remarkably engaging novel that delights as it disturbs" by the New York Times, and as a genre-busting, page-turning work that "fuses slang and literary discourse, pop culture and politics, history and comedy, East and West." The book has been translated into German, Italian, and Portuguese, and was awarded the DSC Prize at the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2011.
Naqvi has worked in the financial services industry, taught creative writing at Boston University, and appeared on CNN, BBC, and National Public Radio. His second novel, The Selected Works of Abdullah (The Cossack), is due in 2018.
Harris Khalique is a leading Urdu and English language poet from Pakistan. He is also an essayist and a columnist. His major poetic works include Ishq ki Taqveem Mein (Urdu, 2006), Between You and Your Love (English, 2004/Revised and Expanded in 2012), and the award-winning collection Melay Mein (Urdu, 2012). In his Urdu collections, a few poems in Punjabi are also included. He co-authored a book of creative non-fiction, Unfinished Histories, which was published in 2001. During the 1980s and 1990s, some of his work faced official censorship in Pakistan. His work has been anthologized by Oxford University Press, Pakistan Academy of Letters, Penguin US, SAARC Writers Forum, University of Georgia Press, and W.W. Norton and Co. among others, and on the Internet by the German poetry website: www.lyrikline.org. He is University of Iowa Honorary Fellow in Writing and has spoken widely on themes straddling literature, culture, politics, human rights, and international development. In 2017, OUP has published his latest book which is a collection of essays titled Crimson Papers: Reflections on Struggle, Suffering, and Creativity in Pakistan.
Humeira Iqtidar is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the Department of Political Economy, King's College London. Her research is concerned with decolonizing knowledge, Islamic political thought and questions of tolerance. She is the author of Secularizing Islamists? (Chicago, 2011).
Based in Oxford, Professor Iftikhar H. Malik, FRHisSoc, has been teaching history at Bath Spa University since 1995. During the early 1990s, Iftikhar held the Quaid-i-Azam Chair at St. Antony’s College, and since 2002, he has been a Member of the Common Room at Wolfson College, Oxford. With doctoral and post-doctoral training at Michigan State, Columbia and UC, Berkeley, Iftikhar has authored 17 books, several chapters, 75 scholarly papers and 250 review articles. Some of his recent volumes include: Pashtun Identity and Geopolitics in Southwest Asia: Pakistan and Afghanistan since 9/11 (Anthem, 2016); Pakistan: Democracy, Terror and the Building of a Nation, (New Holland Publishers, 2010); The History of Pakistan (Greenwood Press, 2008); Crescent between Cross and Star: Muslims and the West after 9/11, (Oxford University Press, 2006); Jihad, Hindutva and the Taliban: South Asia at the Crossroads (Oxford Univ. Press, 2005); Islam and Modernity: Muslims in Western Europe and the United States, (Pluto, 2004); Islam, Nationalism and the West: Issues of Identity in Pakistan, (St. Antony’s-Macmillan Series, 1999), and State and Civil Society in Pakistan: Politics of Authority, Ideology and Ethnicity, (St. Antony’s-Macmillan Series, 1997). Presently, Iftikhar is completing an intellectual history of Islam in South Asia besides a culturelogue based on personal visits and historical research at several places.
Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and documentary film-maker. She was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014, and has received the Cholmondley Award and an Honorary Doctorate from SOAS. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and is on the editorial board of Poems on the Underground. Her collections include Postcards from God, I Speak for the Devil, The Terrorist at my Table (Penguin India and Bloodaxe Books UK) Leaving Fingerprints and Over the Moon (Bloodaxe Books UK). She has had eleven solo exhibitions of drawings in India, London, New York and Hong Kong. She scripts and directs video films, many of them for NGOs in India which work in the area of shelter, education and health for women and children.
Ishrat Afreen is an Urdu poet and women’s rights activist, who has been named one of the five most influential female voices in Urdu Literature.
Ms Afreen has published two collections of poetry: Kunj Peeleh Poolon Ka (1985) and Dhoop Apne Hisse Ki (2005), which was selected by the International Urdu Jury as Best Urdu Poetry Publication of 2004-2005. She has been included in the prestigious anthology We Sinful Women and inspired the well-known anthology Beyond Belief: Contemporary Feminist Urdu Poetry. Ishrat Afreen ki Shairi was a book written solely on Afreen’s poetry by respected senior novelist and literary critic Mr. Ikram Barelvi.
Born and educated in Karachi, Ms Afreen presently lives in the USA. Her work has been translated into English, Japanese, Sanskrit, Hindi, Norwegian, and other languages. It can also be found in Urdu literature coursework at universities across the world. She has been honoured with many prestigious awards, including the Sajjad Zaheer Award.
Dr Ishrat Husain is a well-known economist, academic, and public figure. With a Master’s in Development Economics from Williams College and a Doctorate from Boston University, he is a graduate of the Executive Development Programme jointly sponsored by Harvard, Stanford, and INSEAD. Commencing his career with the elite Civil Service of Pakistan, he later joined the World Bank, where he held a variety of senior positions over a span of 20 years, his last position being Director, Central Asian Republics. He was appointed Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, in December 1999. He implemented a major programme of restructuring the central bank and steered banking sector reforms that are recognized as being among the finest in developing countries. He was Dean and Director of IBA Karachi for eight years until March 2016 and transformed it into a first rate institution of the country. Before that, he served as the Chairman, National Commission for Government Reforms (NCGR), with the status of Federal Minister. He is the recipient of several prestigious national and international awards including the highest civilian award of Nishan-e-Imtiaz conferred upon him by the President of Pakistan in 2016.
Dr Husain has maintained an active scholarly interest in development issues and has written extensively on the topic. He has authored 12 books, including the widely read Pakistan: The Economy of an Elitist State published by Oxford University Press, and several monographs. He was Public Policy Fellow at Woodrow Wilson Center Washington DC from June 2016 to March 2017.
Jasvir Kang is a poet, radio journalist and author. She was born in Punjab, India and came to Coventry, UK in the early 1970's. She spent the early part of her life as a writer and poet documenting the oppression of Asian woman. Most notably in her book of short stories, GEJI, with the title story later adapted into an acclaimed stage production at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. Jasvir has also had an extremely successful career as a radio presenter with shows on BBC WM, Sangam, Radio XL and most recently Ambur Radio. She is a mother of three children and grandmother to four.
Kamila Shamsie is regarded as among the most accomplished of Pakistani novelists writing in English. Hailing from Karachi, she is the author of six novels, including Burnt Shadows, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and has been translated into more than twenty languages. Three of her novels have won awards from the Pakistan Academy of Letters. In 2013, she was named among Granta magazine’s ‘Best of Young British Novelists.’
Kamran Asdar Ali is professor of anthropology, Middle East Studies and Asian Studies and the Director of the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of Planning the Family in Egypt: New Bodies, New Selves (2002) and co-editor of Gendering Urban Space in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa (2008) and Comparing Cities: Middle East and South Asia (Oxford University Press 2009). He has published several articles on health, gender, and sexuality in Egypt, and on urban issues, labour history, gender and popular culture in Pakistan. He is a co-editor of the recent volume Gender, Politics, and Performance in South Asia (Oxford University Press) and author of Communism in Pakistan: Politics and Class Activism 1947–1972 (IB Tauris and Oxford University Press, 2015).
Khaled Anam is a popular Pakistani TV artist, singer, actor, song-writer, theatrical producer, and performer. Truly an all-round entertainment personality, he has devoted his talents primarily to children’s entertainment; he also hosts and produces a radio show based on Urdu literature and old songs on FM107. With a Masters Degree from Karachi University, Anam has done various theatrical training courses with Grips Theatre in Berlin, Germany. As part of a core team responsible for translating and adapting over 100 Episodes of Open Sesame of CTW into Urdu, he was solely responsible for translating and re-recording the songs of all episodes. He is a founding member of Grips Theatre, Pakistan, a branch of Grips Theatre Berlin, and has done all the songs and music therein as well as performing as an actor. He has performed in both children’s and other theatre all over Pakistan, India, UAE, and Germany.
In recognition of his services to children’s theatre and education, Khaled Anam has been conferred the Goethe-Institut Award of Merit by the Counsel General of Germany, Dr Tilo Kliner.
His book Bachon kay Geet has been published by Oxford University Press. He is also currently working as Head of Department for Mass Communication Media Studies at a private university.
Laurent Gayer is Senior Research Fellow at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), currently posted at the Center for International Research and Studies (CERI-Sciences Po), Paris. He specializes in the study of urban transformations and violent mobilizations in the Indian subcontinent (India and Pakistan). His major publications include Karachi. Ordered Disorder and the Struggle for the City (Hurst, 2014), Muslims of Indian Cities. Trajectories of Marginalisation (Hurst 2011) and Armed Militias of South Asia. Fundamentalists, Maoists and Separatists (Hurst 2009). He is currently working on a new book exploring the dialectics of law and disorder that has shaped Karachi's industrial capitalism.
For Pakistan’s Coco Chanel, Maheen , fashion is a lifestyle, her lifestyle. As the very foundation of Pakistan’s fashion history and as a young woman entrepreneur in the 70s she has designed through the country’s best and worst times, always staying on top of her game, devoted to her industry. A true leader, the ‘’mother’’ of fashion, she is a living institution. Pakistan's first Fashion Designer and the principal force behind the formation of "Fashion Pakistan Council."
A proud Pakistani, she has been an ambassador through Fashion, taking Pakistan’s softer image across the globe and has with her pioneering efforts created that channel for others to get international exposure too. In 2007 she created edgy ‘GULABO’ Inspired by the people’s folk visual art - ‘Truck Art’ and the Pakistani love for color. This trend has been picked up by designers across Pakistan .
From creating Benazir Bhutto’s signature look of white head scarf and green top, to the introduction of ready to wear ,her scope of impact has been pivotal throughout the history of Pakistani fashion. And she continues today to design, lead, inspire, motivate and mentor.
H.E. Ambassador Dr Maleeha Lodhi is currently Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. She is the recipient of the President’s award of Hilal-e-Imtiaz for Public Service in Pakistan
She has twice served as Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States [1993–1996, 1999–2002] and as High Commissioner to Britain [2003–2008]. She also served as a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Affairs [2001–2005].
Maleeha Lodhi received her school education in Lahore and Rawalpindi and later moved to United Kingdom where she enrolled at the London School of Economics in 1972 to readEconomics.She received a BSc in Economics, having specialized in political science, in 1976.In 1980 she completed a PhD in Political Science. Her doctoral thesis was on "Bhutto, The Pakistan People's Party and political development in Pakistan:1971–1977." Subsequently shetaught at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad for a short while but came back to London to teach Politics and Political Sociology at the London School of Economics.
She returned to Pakistan in 1986 to become the editor of the English language newspaper,The Muslim, making her the first woman in Asia to edit a national daily newspaper. In 1990 she moved to become the founding editor of The News International, where she remained until 1993; she re-joined the paper as chief editor in 1997 for a further two years.
In 1994 Time magazine nominated her as one of a hundred people in the world who would help shape the 21st century, the only person from Pakistan on that list. Dr Lodhi is a member of the Council of the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies, and a member of the Senate of Pakistan’s National Defence University.
Dr Lodhi received an Honorary Fellowship from the London School of Economics in 2004 and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from London’s Metropolitan University in 2005. She serves on the advisory board of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and is a member of the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum. Dr Lodhi was a Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School in 2008, and a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington in 2010.
She is a respected scholar and author having written Pakistan’s Encounter with Democracy and The External Challenge. Her latest book, an edited volume titled Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State,’ was published in 2011 by C. Hurst & Co /Columbia University Press and Oxford University Press and has now gone into its fifth edition.
Mirza Waheed was born and brought up in Kashmir. His debut novel, The Collaborator, was an international bestseller. A finalist for the Guardian First Book Award and the Shakti Bhatt Prize, The Collaborator was also longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. It was selected by Waterstones as part of its big literary debut promotion, ‘Waterstones 11’ and was also book of the year for The Telegraph, New Statesman, Financial Times, Business Standard and Telegraph India, among others. His latest novel, The Book of Gold Leaves, was published in 2014 to critical acclaim.
The Book of Gold Leaves was shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 and was longlisted for the Folio Prize.
Mirza has written for the BBC, The Guardian, Granta, Guernica, Al Jazeera (English) and The New York Times.
Mohammed Hanif is a journalist and author. Born in Okara, Pakistan, he left the Pakistan Air Force Academy to pursue a career in journalism and worked for Newsline, India Today, and The Washington Post. He has written plays for the stage and screen, including a critically acclaimed BBC drama, and the screenplay for the feature film The Long Night. His novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes was longlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the 2008 Guardian First Book Award. He won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in the Best First Book category in 2009 and is also the recipient of the Shakti Bhatt First Book Award.
His second novel Our Lady of Alice Bhatti was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Award and the DSC Award for Best South Asian Novel. He is working on libretto for a new opera called 'Bhutto'. His pamphlet The Baloch Who is Not Missing and Others Who Are was published by HRCP. He is a columnist for NYT and BBC Urdu. He has written the liberator for a new opera Bhutto. Hanif is currently based in Karachi.
Mrs Nasreen Mahmud Kasuri is the founder of one of the largest privately owned education systems in the world. With branches in over 35 cities throughout Pakistan and overseas, a student body nearing 286,200 and a staff of approx. 17,000, the Beaconhouse School System has spearheaded the introduction of a progressive, broad-based approach to education and the concept of global citizens.
She has made a significant contribution to the transformation of private education in Pakistan and has played a pivotal role in women’s empowerment in the country. 62% of Beaconhouse employees are women, with a very high percentage in upper management. Beaconhouse places great emphasis on the professional development of teachers and is the only system with its own teacher-training programme.
Mrs Kasuri is also the Chairperson of Pakistan’s first liberal arts university, the non-profit Beaconhouse National University and has served on the Boards of many government and non-government organizations. Actively involved in several non-profit and charity organizations, she received the ‘Sitara-e-Eisaar’ award from the Government of Pakistan in 2006 for her philanthropic and humanitarian contributions. In 2012 she received the Women Power 100 award in London UK by Pakistan Power 100. In 2014 she received the Fatima Jinnah Award recognizing her meritorial services as a Social Sector Entrepreneur. This year Beaconhouse will be celebrating 42 years, as one of the largest educational systems in the world.
Moni Mohsin is a freelance journalist and author of two novels, the prize-winning The End of Innocence and Duty Free. She has published two collections of satirical columns, The Dairy of a Social Butterfly and The Return of the Butterfly. She is married with two children and lives currently in London.
Muneeza Shamsie is a writer, critic, and bibliographer, and the author of the literary history Hybrid Tapestries: the Development of Pakistani Literature in English (OUP, 2017) and Managing Editor of a work-in-progress The Oxford Companion to the Literatures of Pakistan. Her extensive work includes three pioneering anthologies of Pakistani English Literature including And The World Changed: Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women (Women Unlimited 2005, OUP 2006, Feminist Press at CUNY 2008) - the American edition received the Gold IPPY Award and the Foreword Magazine Bronze Award in the United States, both for the best anthology.
She is a member of the International Advisory Board of The Journal of Postcolonial Writing and has guest-edited two of the journal's Special Issues: 52. 2 Al Andalus (2016) and 47.2 Beyond Geography: Literature, Politics and Violence in Pakistan (2011). She is the Bibliographic Representative (Pakistan) for The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, and serves on several advisory committees including that of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, of which she was a jury member in 2013. She was the Regional Chairperson (Europe and South Asia) of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize from 2009 to 2011.
Muneeza Shamsie was born in Lahore, educated in England and lives in Karachi where she is a regular contributor to Dawn, Newsline and Newsweek Pakistan.
Nichola Khan is a social anthropologist and a Principal Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Science at the University of Brighton. She is the author of Mohajir Militancy in Pakistan (2010, Routledge); and of Cityscapes of Violence in Karachi: Publics and Counterpublics, ed. (2017, Hurst & Co.; Oxford University Press, New York and Karachi; Penguin, Delhi). Her recent work analyses movement, mobility and migration amongst Afghans living between the UK, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. She is currently working on a monograph tentatively titled, A Track Along the Mountaintop: Migrant Journeymen from Afghanistan. She is also a Chartered Psychologist and the author of Mental Disorder: Anthropological Insights (2017, University of Toronto Press).
Nigham Shahid grew up in Karachi. After graduating from the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Nigham did her Masters in Sociology (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) and Quantitative Research Methods (Columbia University). She has extensive experience working in the Development Sector, particularly in education, and is currently working for CARE Pakistan while based in London. Her current personal research is focussed on identifying innovative and cost-effective models of providing quality education to the most under-resourced populations globally.
Nimra Bucha is a theatre, film, and television actor. She has appeared on television in serials including Daam, Ek Nazar Meri Taraf, Mera Yaqeen, and Virassat. On stage, she played the title role in NAPA’s Begum Jaan. The Dictator’s Wife, also devised by her, was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 2008 and at the 1st Islamabad Literature Festival in 2013. Recently she co-directed and performed in Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat by Mark Ravenhill. She also acted in the feature film Manto, which was released in 2015.
Nuzhat Abbas was born on 31 May 1965 in Faisalabad (Lyallpur) Pakistan. After finishing school, she followed her dream of higher education and won a scholarship to study Russian language and World literature at the People’s Friendship University in Moscow. On her return to Pakistan in 1989 she got married and took a job of project officer at Oxfam GB in Islamabad. Nuzhat then became gender coordinator for South Asia providing gender trainings. In 1995 she was a researcher and interviewee to produce 3 documentaries: Voices of Pakistani Women.
In 1996, Nuzhat came to the UK and studied Gender in Society at the University of London. After the birth of her daughter she started working with The Peeple (then PEEP) in 2004 supporting parents and children to learn together. She participated in two action researches engaging with families to support them to value and use their mother tongue with their children. She has recorded two audio CDs of stories & lullabies with booklets. She has written Maan Banuney Ka Safar (2001), Man Faqiree Chashma (2013), Udd-da Javeen Kanwan, (2015) Children story book Satteyn Khairan (2016) and she is co-author of her new book “Jam Saqi - Chalye Chalo ke wo manzil abhi nahin aai” 2017.
Nuzhat won 2014 Teeayan Festival award from Punjabi Centre London ; won 2016 Punjabi Saahet Sewak award from Punjabi Parchar Lahore and won 1st prize from Masud Khaddarposh Trust Lahore on her Children stories book titled Sattay Khairan.
Omar Shahid Hamid has been a police officer in Pakistan for 16 years and is a senior member of the Karachi Police's Counter Terrorism Department. In 2011, following an attack on his offices by the Pakistani Taliban, he took a five year sabbatical to write books and worked as a political risk consultant in the City of London, for IHS Markit. He has been widely quoted and regularly featured in major news outlets like The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, Le Monde, DW, Bloomberg, Reuters, CNN, BBC, France24, Radio France and NPR. His first novel, The Prisoner (2013), was longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 and is now being adapted for a feature film. His second novel The Spinner’s Tale (2015) won the KLF Getz Pharma prize in 2017 and the Italy Reads Pakistan prize. In 2016, Omar returned to active duty as a Counter Terrorism Officer. His third book, The Party Worker, was published in January 2017.
Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance British journalist and one of the hosts of Newshour on the BBC World Service. As a former presenter of many programmes on the BBC World Service and former resident foreign correspondent for the BBC based in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut, he also regularly reports from around the world. Bennett-Jones has written for several British newspapers, including the Guardian, Financial Times, the Independent, and the London Review of Books.
In 2008, he won the Sony Radio Gold Award in the News Journalist of the Year category. In 2009, he was the Commonwealth journalist of the year. In 2012, he was a visiting Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. Bennett-Jones' Pakistan: Eye of the Storm (Yale University Press, 2002), went into a third edition in 2010. He contributed to the Lonely Planet guide, Pakistan and the Karakoram Highway (2004). In 2012, he co-wrote a radio play about the assassination of the Pakistani politician Salman Taseer titled Blasphemy and the Governor of Punjab, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service. In 2013, Bennett-Jones published his first book of fiction, Target Britain, a thriller set during the war on terror.
Bennett-Jones was educated at Canford School, Dorset, the London School of Economics, and the University of Oxford. His brother is Peter Bennett-Jones, founder and chairman of Tiger Aspect Television.
Qaisra Shahraz is a British-Pakistani award-winning, critically-acclaimed novelist and scriptwriter. She recently won the prestigious National Diversity Lifetime Achiever Award for 'Services to Literature, Education, Gender and Interfaith Activism'. In 2012, Shahraz was recognised as being one of 100 influential Pakistani women in the ‘Pakistan Power 100 List’. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and former Director of Asia Pacific Writers and Translators partnership. She is the author of The Holy Woman, Typhoon, Revolt, and her latest book The Concubine & The Slave Catcher; Stories from around the world. Her novels and short story, A Pair of Jeans, are studied in universities and schools, including in Germany. A critical analysis of her works has been done in a book, The Holy and the Unholy: Critical Essays on Qaisra Shahraz’s Fiction (2011).
Qaisra has enjoyed another successful career in education as an Ofsted inspector, a quality manager, consultant and teacher trainer, including working under the auspices of the British Council. Trustee of Manchester Multi Faith Centre, and Co-Chair of Faith Network 4 Manchester she currently devotes a lot of her time and energies to interfaith activities to promote messages of peace, tolerance, and building cultural bridges in the UK and abroad through her literary tours.
Rehan Sheikh is an Actor, Writer and film-maker. Born in London, he has worked extensively in Pakistan in Television and films in Leading and character roles over the past two decades as well as Theatre and Radio in UK. Winner of Best Actor at the 2005 Kara film Festival and Best Actor in Supporting role at the 2015 Hum TV Awards, his famous plays include Sadqay Tumharay, Preet na kariyo, Sanjha, Akhri Barish, The Castle and the current hit, Sammi . Films include “Manto”, “Silent Water”, “Actor in Law” and upcoming Chupan Chupai. A Drama major from University of Surrey, he worked in a number of Theatrical Productions in UK –especially with Tamasha Theatre company. His Theatre work includes “a fine Balance” (Hampstead Theatre) Indian Wants the Bronx (The young Vic) ,A tainted dawn (Edinburgh International Theatre Festival ) Death and the maiden ( Rafi Peer Festival) , Ryman and the Sheikh ( Edinburgh Fringe), "Ghostdancing" (The Lyric). Wrote “Roomi’s diary” - a satirical column for the News and also Theatre plays - “The players”, “Unsettlers tales” , and “Ek Admi” (One man ) performed at fringe venues in London. Mohabat ki Pehli Kahani (The first story of Love) – was his first film as a Writer/ Director for TV. Just completed AZAD his first feature film ( As a Writer/Director) for Cinema, to be released later this year.
Rukhsana Ahmad: Writer, translator, playwright
Plays: Rukhsana has written and adapted several plays for the stage and BBC, achieving distinction in both. River on Fire (Finalist, Susan Smith Blackburn International Award.) Wide Sargasso Sea (Finalist, Writers Guild Award for Best Radio Adaptation) Song for a Sanctuary Finalist (CRE Award, best original radio drama.)
Publications: The Hope Chest, Virago, The Gatekeeper’s Wife and other stories, ILQA.
Mistaken: Annie Besant in India, Aurora Metro
We Sinful Women (feminist Urdu poetry, Tr ) The Women's Press
The One Who Did Not Ask (by Altaf Fatima, Tr.) Heinemann
Her stories appear in: Right Of Way, The Inner Courtyard, Flaming Spirit, Walking A Tight Rope (UK) Leaving Home, Dragonfly In The Sun, (Pakistan) City Of Sin And Splendour, (India) And The World Changed (USA) Storywallah (Canada
Rukhsana co-founded and led Kali Theatre Company for several years. Currently: Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.
Sarah Ansari is Professor of History at Royal Holloway, University of London. She writes on aspects of the history of places that are today Pakistan, with a particular emphasis on developments in Sindh and the mega port-city of Karachi, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her 2005 book Life after Partition: community, migration and strife in Sindh, 1947-1962 (OUP) explored the impact of partition on developments in Sindh. She is currently working with William Gould at Leeds on an exploration of comparative citizenship in South Asia, with the aim of interrogating and unpacking the idealised ‘nation-state’-oriented view of the citizen through an examination of how modes of citizenship rights worked across a particular set of national boundaries, viz. those separating India and Pakistan after 1947.
A lawyer, a businesswoman, a campaigner and a cabinet minister, Sayeeda Warsi has had many roles, but she is best known for being the first Muslim to serve in a British cabinet. In August 2014 she resigned from Government citing the Government’s “morally indefensible” policy on Gaza.
In 2007 she was elevated to the House of Lords aged 36, making her the youngest peer in Parliament. Later that year she traveled to Sudan and famously helped to secure the release of the British teacher Gillian Gibbons who was on trial for blasphemy. In 2010 she was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron as Minister without Portfolio, becoming the first Muslim to serve as a Cabinet Minister. The iconic images of her on the steps of No 10 Downing Street in a shalwar kameez were beamed around the world.
In Government she led the largest ministerial delegation to the Vatican, famously declared Islamophobia “has passed the dinner table test”, established the Remembering Srebrenica programme and ensured that Britain in 2014 became the first western country to issue a Sukuk (Islamic bond). She also Chaired the Global Islamic Finance & Investment Group.
Sayeeda is Chair of the Baroness Warsi Foundation and a Trustee of the Savayra Foundation. Sayeeda is Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Bolton, an Advisor to Georgetown University Washington DC and Visiting Professor at St Marys – the oldest Catholic university in the UK.
Baroness Warsi has consistently been voted one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world. On the 30 March Baroness Warsi’s first book, The Enemy Within: A Tale of Muslim Britain, billed as “a vital book at a critical time”, was released.
Shahbano Bilgrami is a published poet, writer and freelance editor whose debut novel, Without Dreams, was long listed in 2007 for the Inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize. Those Children, her second novel, was released by HarperCollins in January of 2017. Born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Shahbano was educated in Canada, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom. Shahbano is both an avid reader and book reviewer. Her articles have been published in print magazines as well as online and she has written and edited extensively for children. She is currently working on her third novel and is also involved in a number of projects for young readers. She is particularly excited to be at the Alchemy Festival to introduce her new series of cross-cultural chapter books for children, Munna Man and Baby Lady.
Shuja Nawaz is a strategic and security analyst and author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within (released in its updated edition by OUP 2017). He is the founding director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC, where he is now a Distinguished Fellow. He has briefed and advised political and military leaders in the United States, Europe, and Pakistan.
Dr Sobia Ahmad Kaker is an urban studies scholar who studies issues relating to urbanisation, security and governance in global south cities. She holds a PhD degree in Architecture, Planning and Landscape from Newcastle University and an MSc in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. Her PhD thesis titled ‘Enclaves as Process: Space, Security and Violence in Karachi’ investigates the trends towards physical fortification and private securitisation across low income and middle class neighbourhoods in Karachi. Her thesis unravels how socio-material processes of securitising urban space shape urban socio-political relations in ways that exacerbate conflict and violence in the already divided Pakistani megacity. Dr Kaker has extensive research experience in leading Pakistani and British research institutions. She has worked at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad, the Collective for Social Sciences Research in Karachi, and LSE Cities in London. She is currently affiliated with the Centre for Civil Society and Human Security at the London School of Economics.
Suniya Qureshi has been a Senior Strategy Adviser at the International Unit G20 of the Department for Work Pensions and worked across UK government departments on social protection and human rights, international labour markets, and employment strategies in some of the UK's most deprived wards. She ran the British Pakistan Foundation as Executive Director for two years whilst on a sabbatical from the civil service, creating a formidable platform for the British Pakistani Diaspora.
In her recent role as Business Development Executive at Algebra Consulting, she helped deliver a successful two-day event at Olympia London in 2016, with a footfall of 20,000 people. Suniya is responsible for managing stakeholders, campaigns and online outreach to increase subscriber-ship and curate and launch campaigns. Suniya's core achievements have been fundraising, community outreach, managing stakeholder relationships, campaigning, and media marketing. Suniya has also written and produced six theatrical plays and is currently working on her seventh venture. She is additionally consulting for Oxfam and Southbank, on cultural and community fundraising and engagement.
Dr Taimur Rahman teaches Political Science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He obtained his Masters from Sussex University and his Doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He has been involved in grass roots labour and Marxist politics in Pakistan for the last 15 years and is also the spokesperson of the popular band Laal.
Umber Khairi is a broadcaster with the BBC, and a presenter of the Urdu Service's radio programme Sairbeen. She is a columnist with The News on Sunday and has written the popular column UK Calling since 1998. The column covers a wide range of topics -- literature, popular culture, family, social issues, politics, media -- in a candid and forthright style. She is co-founder of the independent magazine Newsline, which was set up by editor Razia Bhatti and her team, when they left the Herald magazine in 1988.
She has written for The Toronto Review, The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Books), The Guardian (Family) and The Literary Review; and has also been a blogger for BBC Urdu. Her work in progress includes a study of the work and short life of a young female Urdu writer from the early twentieth century, a translation into English of her father Saad Rashidul Khairi's memoir (Urdu) Aap Beeti Jugg Beeti, and a novel set in 1990s Karachi. Umber Khairi is a graduate of Princeton University.
Umair Javed is a sociologist pursuing a Ph.D. at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His research looks at contemporary urban society in Pakistan with a focus on the emerging middle classes and their influence on the country’s nascent democratic process. Previously he taught politics and history at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). Umair also writes a political and cultural affairs column for Pakistan’s most widely read English language newspaper, Dawn. His opinion pieces have been published in local and regional publications, including Herald, the Friday Times, Business Standard, the Hindu, and Economic and Political Weekly.
Urvashi Butalia is an independent publisher and writer based in India. Co-founder of India's first feminist publishing house, Kali for Women, she now runs Zubaan, an imprint of Kali. She has a long involvement in the women's movement and writes widely in books, journals and newspapers on a range of issues to do with gender. Among her best known works is the award-winning oral history of the Partition of India, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (winner of the Oral History Book Association Award 2001 and the Nikkei Asia Award 2003). She has won several awards for her work, including the Padmashri, awarded by the Indian government in 2011.
Dr Vayu Naidu specialises in performance oral traditions of world literatures. Her post Doctoral Fellowship examined the significance of Storytelling in migration, transference of skills across professional workspaces, in Prisons, and with women subjected to domestic violence.
Her plays have been broadcast by Radio 4 , and she was founder and Artistic Director of Vayu Naidu Intercultural Storytelling Company funded by Arts Council England 2004-2013.
Her novel SITA'S ASCENT ( Penguin: 2013) was nominated for the Commonwealth Book Award.
Her new novel is THE SARI OF SURYA VILAS ( Speaking Tiger Publishing: 2017) as historical fiction it is about women and identity in the face of political and domestic oppression set in the luxury of the Madras Presidency (1846-1916).
Victoria Schofield is a writer and commentator who has written extensively on South Asia. She is an acknowledged expert on the Kashmir issue and is the author of Kashmir in the Crossfire and Kashmir in Conflict. Her other publications include Afghan Frontier: At the Crossroads of Conflict; Wavell: Soldier and Statesman; Old Roads, New Highways: Fifty Years of Pakistan, (ed.); and Bhutto: Trial and Execution. Her most recent publications are Witness to History: The Life of John Wheeler-Bennett and The Highland Furies: The Black Watch 1739–1899 (volume 1). The second volume: The Black Watch: Fighting in the Front Line 1899-2006 is due to be published in July 2017.
Schofield is an Associate of the Pakistan Security Research Unit (PSRU), University of Durham and a Visiting Lecturer at King’s College, London; she is a frequent commentator on BBC and other news outlets, and has travelled widely in the region.
Wagging Tongues Productions Ltd ("WTP") was created by husband and wife duo, Abid and Mariam Majid, in response to the sociopolitical environment of the world and its effects on the identity of the South Asian community. WTP is the only UK-based production company that creates theatre productions specifically for the integration of British-Pakistani and Asian children and youth; enabling them to connect to stories, literature, folklore, art and legendary characters from South Asia. The show presents insight into cultural nuances of the region to the multicultural population of London.
In keeping with the ethos of the ‘unity through diversity’, the children's theatre play series, 'Jungly Jadoogar' brings together the international community and professionals from various backgrounds to create an exchange of culture and dialogue celebrating our differences and commonalities. WTP is dedicated to create performing arts projects that promote their community as a progressive and a contributing factor of British society.
Writer and director, Mariam Majid, comments “We are at cross roads where boundaries have blurred and while the world is growing smaller, distances are increasing. It has never been more paramount to celebrate diversity. Our times urge us to realise our larger reality as one human family.”
Zaffar Kunial was born in Birmingham and lives in Cumbria where he was the most recent Wordsworth Trust Poet-in-Residence. A graduate of the LSE, before moving to Grasmere to take up a residency in 2014, Kunial had worked for five years for Hallmark Cards in West Yorkshire. His poem ‘Hill Speak’ was a prize winner in the 2011 National Poetry Competition. This was his first published poem, and begins with the words: “There is no dictionary for my father’s language”. Kunial’s father is Kashmiri and his mother English. In 2013 he won a major Northern Writers' Award. He was announced as Faber New Poet in 2014 and his debut pamphlet was published by Faber and Faber in 2014. Later that year, he was commissioned to write a poetic response to the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, which he read at the Purcell Room at the Southbank on National Poetry Day. Kunial’s sequence of poems, ‘The Shape Remembrance Takes’, was part of a commemorative book The Pity, published by the Poetry Society.
Have been writing Pashto prose and verse. A founding member of Pukhtana Adabi Leekwal Pakhtunkhwa; Malakand Pukhto Adabi Tolana, Pukhto Adabi Malgari and other literary organisations. Have been an active member of Anjuman Taraqipasand Musannifeen. Have been hosting literary programs on PTV and other TV channels. Presently chairman of Afghan Milli Jarga UK and Progressive Pakhtoon Forum UK.
Ziauddin Sardar, internationally renowned writer and cultural critic, is Editor of the quarterly Critical Muslim. His latest books are Mecca: The Sacred City and The Postnormal Times Reader.