Before shutdown and the coronavirus pandemic changed the world as we knew it, the Lahore Literary Festival was a meeting point for some of the world’s best minds to meet and share their ideas with a dynamic audience earlier this year in February. Here is our editor Amna R Ali’s pick of books from five authors whom she met and who came to Pakistan to attend LLF 2020. Happy reading.
THE LION AND THE NIGHTINGALE (2019)- KAYA GENÇ
Not only was meeting Kaya Genç a total pleasure at LLF 2020, but this Turkish novelist and essayist’s latest work is what I imagine myself to be reading at a café in Istanbul as I peruse the city’s landmarks and make plans to head out further into Turkey– just like Kaya Genç who travels around his country to compare Turkey’s contemporary life with its rich and glorious past.
MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER (2018)- OYINKAN BRAITHWAITE
At LLF 2020, Oyinkan Braithwaite drew many parallels with modern-day Nigeria and contemporary Pakistan, especially discussing the expectations that modern men in her part of the world have of women – quite similar to Pakistan. Her dark and funny novel set in Lagos is about two sisters, one of whom has a tendency to murder her boyfriends.
my1998)- ORHAN PAMUK
Turkey’s greatest contemporary writer Orhan Pamuk was the keynote speaker this year at LLF 2020 and he received a lot of attention from thousands of people at the festival. It was exciting to see his work translated into Urdu available at the LLF bookstands. If you haven’t read anything from this profound writer, My Name is Red is a good place to begin.
HIJABISTAN (2019)- SABYN JAVERI
This is a collection of 16 short stories that provide perspectives from behind the veil. Sabyn Javeri attempts to remove the stereotypes surrounding women who wear the Hijab – these women are not always meek or submissive and the stories veer from inspiring to sinister. Sabyn asks her readers not to judge a book by its cover – definitely a loaded statement.
NEW KINGS OF THE WORLD (2019) THE RISE AND RISE OF EASTERN POP CULTURE- FATIMA BHUTTO
For anyone who is a student of popular culture and contemporary entertainment, this is a must-read. For a change, the popular movements in the spotlight are from the Global South; Turkish soap operas, K-Pop and other aspects of Eastern pop culture which challenge America’s hegemony in the world of entertainment.