Karachi Literary Festival Stuff

Sorry to have missed the Karachi Literary Festival at the weekend, particularly as there was gossip and backbiting of the highest order on display… along with the books.

British officials were aghast that while the Brit High Commissioner’s wife flew to Pakistan in economy, along with the rest of the Brit contingent, they had to watch as the wife of a junior Pakistani minister swanned into business class with three minders, security and suchlike. But then again, what’s the point of running a loss-making national airline, while mopping up billions in international aid, if you can’t sit up front?

Then there was Karen Armstrong, the nun who gets a rock star reception wherever she goes in Pakistan preaching her message of tolerance and compassion. Which is all well and good, unless you are one of the novelists attracting a rather less enthusiastic audience. I thought this was supposed to be a festival of Pakistani writing, was the general theme of comments, including one from a noted novelist who dismissed her bestsellers as the work of a “coffee table writer”. Ouch.

Anyone else?


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