Impacting society and history with writing: Launch of the Arzu Anthology

Organized by Oxford University Press, the Karachi Literature Festival is one of the largest and most exciting existing platforms to do both – explore and celebrate the depth of Pakistan’s literary roots and acknowledge the talent and pursuit of knowledge and creativity embedded within the lives of individuals in Pakistan.

Recognizing this platform, the Arzu program of Languages and Literature at Habib University provided their students with their first ever publishing opportunity. A collection of students’ writings on memories, social interactions, and lived experiences embodying their past, contemporary and imaginative world, The Arzu Anthology: Student Voices Against The Odds is a collaboration of poetry, flash fiction and short stories that vividly represents the diversity, multiplicity and the range of talent that lies within the hearts of students studying at Habib University.

With topics ranging from domestic violence and roadside harassment to women’s rights, abusive relationships and issues of social relevance such as menopause, the anthology contains stories that educate and empower. The striking imagery and empowering dialogue makes the Anthology a dream to read.

The book was launched at the Beach Luxury Hotel on February 10, by Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, with the chief guest engaging with the students and participating in a thought-provoking discussion on the state of literary expression in Pakistan.

The session featured readings of excerpts and performances by the contributors as well as a question-answer session with the enthusiastic audience.

The occasion ended with a prize-giving ceremony in which prizes were selected by leading literary agent at Writer’s side, India, Kanishka Gupta. I, Yusra Habib, won the award for the Upcoming Emerging Talent, Zoha Jabbar was acknowledged for best poetry and Iqran Rasheed was appreciated for best story submission. Overall, it was a moment of pride, recognition, acceptance and delightful contentment for us as individuals, as well as representatives of our institution.

This blog was written by Yusra Habib, Senior at HU’s School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciencesmajoring in Social Development & Policy, Class of 2019.

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Read coverage by the Express Tribune here.

Read coverage by The News here.


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