Pakistani literary festival kicks off with Turkish novelists

The 8th Lahore Literary Festival, hosted in Pakistan's second-largest city, kicked off on Friday with special guest Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's only Nobel laureate in literature.

Speaking to journalist Ahmed Rashid at the festival, considered one of South Asia's premier cultural events, Pamuk expressed his love for his hometown Istanbul, Turkey's largest city.

"I am very conscious of it. Although I have stayed in New York for a very long time, I cannot write about it as I have considered myself as a guest there," said Pamuk.

"But Istanbul is my home. I have seen the city grow into a population of 17 million from 2 million."

"I regret not coming to Lahore earlier, the city has so much to offer," added Pamuk.

"There is a tendency in literary reviews and generally speaking humanity to associate some writers with some cities," he said. "I'm one of those lucky writers. But once I was translated, everyone started calling me Istanbul. I merely lived in the city."

The festival gives students, professionals, and readers a chance to mingle with the galaxy of international writers, poets, and artists.

Also appearing at the festival, Turkish novelist and essayist Kaya Genç said there has been a "serious shift" in Turkey's foreign policy.

"Previously Turkey did not want to align with European nations but now it is a [candidate to be a] member of the European Union. While addressing multilateralism we should not forget how Turkey has been consistently negotiating in the matter of Syria," Genç said.

The festival has mobilized new readers and bolstered book sales of international and Pakistani writers.



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