U.S. Consul General Brian Heath hosted University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP) Director Christopher Merrill at his Residence. Mr. Merrill is in Karachi to participate in the 6th Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) February 6-8. In addition, KLF founders Ameena Saiyid and Asif Farrukhi and colleagues from the Oxford University Press attended as did IWP alumni H.M. Naqvi and Shandana (Pakistan) and Sridala Swami and Kavery Nambisan (India).
U.S. Embassy Islamabad’s Country Cultural Affairs Officer Judith Ravin read “Entire Ocean in a Drop,” a short essay about experiencing Sufi music that was in the Embassy’s January 2015 issue of Khabr o Nazar. Mr. Merrill also read excerpts from his published works as did the two Pakistani and two Indian IWP alumni.
“I am delighted to celebrate the power of the written and spoken word tonight,” said Mr. Heath. “I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize the Karachi Literature Festival, which has grown rapidly since its establishment in March 2010 from 5,000 attendees in 2010 to more than 70,000 in 2014. The U.S. Consulate General in Karachi is proud to — once again — be a sponsor of this landmark cultural event.”
The U.S. Department of State is a major sponsor of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. The International Writing Program is a renowned writer’s residency program. It seeks to connect established and emerging writers from around the globe, bring international literature into classrooms, take writers on reading tours, engage these writers with new audiences, and serve as a clearinghouse for literary news and other materials.
Since 1967, more than 1,400 writers from more than 140 countries have been in residence at the University of Iowa. Several notable writers from Pakistan have also participated in the IWP program, including H. M. Naqvi, Bina Shah, Bilal Tanweer, and Shandana Minhas.