Wednesday, May 30, 2012

National Language Authority launch five Urdu books

Jumbo Editorial Team

May 28, 2012 became a Red Letter day as the National Language Authority launched as many as five books at its headquarters in Islamabad. The books covered a wide academic spectrum from the importance and decay of the Urdu language to socio-political dynamics of Pakistan.

The books to be launched were Urdu as a Secondary Language by Dr Suleman Athar, Liberalism in Urdu Literature by Dr Riffat Iqbal, Dr Abdul Salam Khursheed by Dr Mohammad Shahzad, Urdu Novel and Decline of Human Nature by Bazgha Qandeel and Hewanat ki Alamti Haesiat by Saeed Ahmed. 

The intellectuals present on the occasion expressed their concern over the decline in the number of people speaking native languages and dialects. 

They pointed out that every year the world witnessed about 2,500 languages reach extinction as native speakers did not work for the continuation of their mother tongue from generation to generation adding that the fast-paced and homogenous technological world of today was not conducive to verbal and literary diversity. 

Federal Secretary of National Heritage and Integration, Asif Ghafoor, pointed out that there were about 6,000 languages in the world out of which every year 2,500 vanish from the face of earth, emphasizing on the need to make sure that our local languages remained alive. He urged the literary persons to take steps to secure the local languages so that they would carry on.

Author Dr Suleman Athar said that in his book he had tried to convey the message that all the languages were very important and they should be protected. 

Author Dr Mohammad Shahzad said he had chosen Dr Abdul Salam as the subject of his book because he had really done well in the field of education and journalism. 

Author Riffat Iqbal said that he had discussed the liberalism of new era in his book and tried to relate it with the past. 

Author Bazgha Qandeel said that she had tried to show the downfall of the human beings. 

Dr Hanif Khalil of Quaid-i-Azam University while commenting on the book of Dr Suleman Athar said the local languages should be protected and the only way to protect them is that those languages should be introduced in the syllabus at provincial level. 

He gave the example of Sindhi and said that it had become the language of courts and the official language of the province. 

Manzar Naqvi while talking about the book of Riffat Iqbal said that the author had discussed different cultures and liberalism in them. In that book even freedom movements and their impacts had been discussed in detail, he added. 

Dr Roshan Aara while talking about the book of Dr Mohammad Shahzad said, “Although, usually there is a difference between personality of author and his writing but the book about Dr Abdul Salam reflects his true self.” 

Abid Sial while giving his expert opinion on the book of Bazgha Qandeel said that most of the quotes in the book had been taken from the Holy Quran. Hameed Shahid while discussing about the book of Saeed Ahmed said the book showed the difference between human beings and animals besides telling the history of story-telling in the Indian Subcontinent.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rawalpindi Arts Council launches young poet Wajiul Hasnain Nizami

Jumbo Editorial Team

The Rawalpindi Arts Council, one of the leading institutions in the promotion of arts and culture in the Potohar region, scored another point by hosting the launching ceremony young poet Wajiul Hasnain Nizami’s maiden book ‘Nain Say Ain Tak’ on May 26.

Syed Asif Salahuddin, Chairman, Ad Group, was the chief guest in the function which was presided over by Shahid Hussain Tareen, a famous poet. 

“Literature is the reflection of the society, which can play an important role in social change according to situation. It’s very heartening that the young poets of Rawalpindi like Wajiul Hasnain are thinking of bringing about revolutionary change in the society,” Asif Salahuddin remarked in his speech on the occasion. 

“The harmony in Wajiul Hasnain’s poetry is due to his keen interest in music. He is a staunch follower of Amir Khusro,” Shahid Tareen observed. 

Naheed Manzoor, a guest of honour, also reckoned that Wajiul Hasnain’s keen interest in music also reflected in his poetry which differentiated him from other young poets.

Waqar Ahmed, Resident Director, Rawalpindi Arts Council, in his welcome address, praised the young poet for having compiled his collection in book form. 

Quite a few literary organizations from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad participated in the book launch and appreciated the efforts of Rawalpindi Arts Council for encouraging new talent of the region. 

The poet, Wajiul Hasnain, also performed on ‘sitar’ and a local singer, Shabih Sen, enthralled the audience by singing his songs. The Rawalpindi Arts Council, located on Murree Road in the vicinity of the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, has remained quite active by organizing various events from time to time. It was established as Pakistan Arts Council in 1966 as an autonomous body and supported through grants from the Federal Government as well as the provincial government of the Punjab, while it was restructured in 1975.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Biennial Cape Town Book Fair from June 15

Jumbo Editorial Team

The Cape Town Book Fair, having started through a joint venture between the Publishers’ Association of South Africa (PASA) and the Ausstellungs- und Messe GmbH (Frankfurt Book Fair), has established itself as the best platform for the literary world to gather and trade in the business of publishing.

It was established in 2006 to harness the momentum created by the Harare Book Fair and create another book fair that could fill the vacuum. 

It proved to be the right decision because since then the Cape Town Book Fair has become a hugely popular book fair for the general public. 

Previously an annual event, in 2011 organisers, the PASA decided to make it a biennial event, starting in 2012. 

The eagerly awaited sixth edition will now be taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from June 15 to 17. It’s being remodelled and set to impress with organisers confident that this year’s Fair will far outdo expectations: they’re anticipating an exciting mix of representatives from the African, Arab and Asian publishing worlds.

The opening day (June 15) will be observed as the trade-only day until 2 pm, after which the public will be welcomed until 10 pm. 

This will give trade visitors an opportunity to share ideas and trade well into the night with representatives from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, the US, Nigeria, Turkey, Ghana, China, the UK, Uganda and the Netherlands. 

It caters for all bibliophiles, trade visitors and publishers, with over 200 events, including meet the author sessions, panel discussions, literary forums, book launches and symposiums. 

One of Africa's most prolific writers, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, will be participating in the opening session and visitors can look forward to a book reading and signing session as well. He is a prominent novelist and theorist of post-colonial literature, most well-known for Decolonising the Mind.

The Van Riebeeck Society will be launching AB Xuma Autobiography and Selected Works, a compilation of former-ANC leader, Dr Alfred Bitini Xuma's correspondence and prose, edited by Peter Limb. 

Two books on Jacob Zuma will be launched during the Fair as well. There will also be panel discussions on ANC policies - with Susan Booysen, Glenda Daniels and Anthony Butler, who will be leading some of these debates. 

Renowned academic and educational publishers and exhibitors will be returning this year. Wits University Press, Juta & Co, Unisa Press, UCT Press will be launching and selling books as well as hosting some of the debates. The Cape Town Book Fair had attracted 273 exhibitors and in excess of 33,000 visitors. 

This year the Cape Town Book Fair will coincide with the 29th International Publishers’ Association (IPA) Congress. The IPA Congress attracts between 600 and 1000 delegates while the speakers at the congress are top professionals and policy makers in the book sector. This means that the Fair will be enhanced with a decidedly international flavour of the who’s who in the publishing world.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fatima Surayya Bajia’s autobiography launched at Arts Council

 Jumbo Editorial Team

The legendary writer Fatima Surayya Bajia’s autobiography was launched with great fanfare at Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, on May 21 with her illustrious brother, Anwar Maqsood, keeping the ceremony alight his razor-sharp wit and family anecdotes. He, however, never lost sight of the respect and reverence that Bajia deserved.

The autobiography has been authored by Syeda Iffat Hasan Rizvi after six years of research. She stayed with Bajia and talked at length to her siblings.

“At times I even asked extremely personal questions but Bajia never once raised an eyebrow,” she said. Anwar Maqsood admitted that the love shared by all of his 10 siblings, who include, eminent Urdu poet Zehra Nigah, fashion designer Bunto Kazmi and Zubaida Tariq, is seldom seen anywhere. “That’s because our parents never left anything for us,” he immediately quipped.

“All they left were around 10,000 books. Maybe if they had left some property then we wouldn’t love each other so much.” He introduced Qazi Wajid to the stage by saying he was the only actor who has been doing theatre before Bajia began writing plays. His best introduction was reserved for Zubaida Aapa.  

Prof Sehar Ansari praised Bajia’s character and her works. Talking about her habit of calling everyone a beta (son), he said that Bajia even called an 80-year-old beta when she was herself only 40 years old.

He lauded the fact that a book on Bajia’s life and works had finally been published. He said affection and compassion for fellow human beings were integral to Bajia’s personality.

Agha Nasir told the audience how Bajia first got involved with Pakistan Television. Her flight to Karachi had been delayed and she came to PTV Islamabad station for a visit. He hired her and Bajia made her debut in 1966 by acting in one of his plays. She began writing afterwards.

He observed that the most significant feat that Bajia had accomplished was that she was able to put together the culture and values of this country at a time when they cut a disparate picture.

The author of the book, Iffat Hasan Rizvi, stated that Bajia was such a great writer that she felt it was her responsibility not to ignore her works. The book was an attempt at making Bajia an important part of Urdu literature. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Maqamat-e-Dil launched at Sir Syed University

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

The Chancellor of the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, Engr Z A Nizami, has renewed the commitment to continue supporting the cause of promotion of Urdu language and its literature.

He stated this while speaking as the chief guest at the launching ceremony of Shah Hasan Atta’s book titled “Maqamat-e-Dil” which was held under the SSUET at its spacious Bashir A Malik Auditorium. 

The graceful ceremony was largely attended by noted writers, scholars and other eminent literary personalities.  

The Chancellor pointed out that despite the fact that the SSUET is an engineering institution, it has published around 200 books on general subjects that showed the dedication and commitment to the cause of Urdu language. 

 “I personally feel that it is too difficult to preserve events and memories with complete truth and accuracy, yet Shah Hassan Atta wrote a book that is a valuable addition to the work of literature,” Engr Z A Nizami complimented. 

He paid glowing tributes to the outstanding works of Shah Hassan Atta and announced to bring out his biography soon and also to print his unpublished works. 

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Sehar Ansari, an eminent poet, said that author Shah Hassan Atta has left indelible marks in the period when every other person was a giant. He had deep studies and knowledge. He was the first Secretary of the students’ union at Aligarh Muslim University and later became the Vice President of students’ union. 

Dr Waqar Ahmed Rizvi, a noted writer and critic, described Shah Hassan Atta was a fabulous writer whose focus was much more on spirituality and Sufism. Senior Aligarian Saeed Siddiqui and Shah Umar Atta, author’s son, also spoke on the occasion, appreciating the SSUET’s gesture of encouraging scholastic works for the promotion of Urdu, the national language of Pakistan.

60 scholars attend UK’s first-ever academic conference to discuss Harry Potter

Jumbo Editorial Team

Around 60 scholars from across the globe are set to take part in a conference at the St Andrews University in Scotland discussing JK Rowling’s famous Harry Potter books. It’s the UK’s first-ever academic conference on the subject and the first in the world to discuss Harry Potter strictly as a literary text.

The event, A Brand of Fictional Magic: Reading Harry Potter as Literature, aims to redress the lack of direct study of the body of work as a literary text. 

In an intense series of almost 50 lectures over two days, experts on the series will discuss how they deal with death, the role of empathy and the influence of writers such as CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. 

Other papers will deal with paganism, magic and the use of food and British National Identity. The conference is organised by John Patrick Pazdziora from the university’s School of English, and Fr. Micah Snell from the university’s institute for theology, imagination and the arts (ITIA).

“We can't avoid the fact that Harry Potter is the main narrative experience of an entire generation, the children who quite literally grew up with Harry Potter. The Harry Potter novels are simply the most important and influential children's books of the late-twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries,” Pazdziora was quoted as saying. 

“For very many people, this is their first experience of literature, and of literary art. So they want to think about it, and analyse it, and talk about it. It's important because people care about it, and care very deeply,” he added. 

''As literary critics, as academics, why on earth wouldn't we want to come to grips with these texts? There's so much here to talk about, culturally and critically, that a two-day conference really can only get the conversation started. People will be reading and writing and studying Harry Potter for years to come. Rowling's seven novels run to 4100 pages, so the books would easily be able to sustain serious academic discussion over the two days,” Pazdziora stated.

The keynote speakers include John Granger, widely hailed as the leading authority on the series. He will be joined in St Andrews by fellow experts from countries including the USA, South Africa, Australia, India and the Philippines, as well as the UK. 

“The Hogwarts Saga is the most loved story in the history of publishing by quite a margin and, consequently, it is a natural and important subject of study for anyone interested in the literary arts,” Granger remarked. 

“Hogwarts, we're told, is hidden somewhere in Scotland, the author lives here, too, and Ms Rowling's mother was half Scot. It's somehow appropriate and fitting that the first academic conference of any size be held at Scotland's oldest university, St Andrews. The enthusiastic response and the quality of the universities from around the world who will be represented at the conference make it a landmark event,” he said.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mexico's best known writer Carlos Fuentes passes away

Jumbo Editorial Team

Carlos Fuentes, who died recently in Mexico City at the age of 83, was one of the Spanish-speaking world's best known writers, famous for his prolific output and his use of experimental language.

President Felipe Calderon announced Mexico’s best known contemporary writer's death in a message on his Twitter account. 

The National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature confirmed he had died in a Mexico City hospital. The author's doctor Arturo Ballesteros informed the reporters that Fuentes could not recover after suffering a massive hemorrhage in his digestive tract at home. 

 Fuentes, the son of a diplomat, was born in Panama City on November 11, 1928. He spent parts of his childhood in Quito, Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro, and was enrolled in a US public school when his father was transferred to Washington. 

"You have to take some time out to be able to give literature the attention it deserves -- for journalism, for speaking, for friendship. I cannot be cloistered like a monk because I would lose contact with human beings, with life," Fuentes was quoted as saying in an interview in 2003.

A leading figure in the 1960s Latin American literature boom. Fuentes befriended both Colombian leftist Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Peruvian conservative Mario Vargas Llosa, and was known for criticising both the harsh side of Capitalism and the tough realities of Communism. 

Unlike his contemporaries though, Fuentes never won a Nobel Prize in literature, although for years he said to be on the short list and collected a clutch of other prestigious awards. 

"I met him 50 years ago," Vargas Llosa said in a Twitter message upon learning of Fuentes' death, "and we were friends all that time without anything ever impoverishing that friendship." 

Fuentes published his first collection of short stories, "Masked Days," under the guidance of his father Rafael. In 1958, when he was 30, he achieved international renown with "The Most Transparent Region," a portrayal of Mexico City's explosive growth. 

The novel "The Death of Artemio Cruz" (1967) won Fuentes both critical and public acclaim and became his best known work.

Marie Colvin hailed as bravest war journalist

Jumbo Editorial Team

Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times correspondent killed in Syria in February, was hailed as the bravest of the brave war reporter at a memorial service having taken place at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London.

Singer Cerys Matthews performed two songs, including Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind, and ex-Foreign Secretary David Miliband read a poem in tribute as politicians and journalists recorded their appreciation for Colvin who died at the age of 56. 

Also at the service were emotional Channel 4 newsman Jon Snow, Foreign Secretary William Hague and photographer Paul Conroy, who was injured in the attack when Colvin lost her life on February 22 in a building which was serving as a media centre in the city of Homs which was struck by a mortar round. 

The Sunday Times editor, John Witherow, desrcribed her as the greatest war correspondent of the generation. "Marie inspired love, affection and respect wherever she went. She had a gift of friendship and she nurtured many friends with as much love as she cared for her journalism. Everyone here knows we have lost someone unbelievably special and our lives are poorer for not being able to see that smile, hear that throaty laugh and simply enjoy the company of a remarkable woman who was the greatest war correspondent of her generation," he said.

BBC foreign correspondent Lyse Doucet, who had worked with Colvin in Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya and Syria, paid tribute during the service, saying "the bravest of the brave was also the kindest of the kind". 

The service also heard a poem composed by Alan Jenkins, deputy editor of the Times Literary Supplement who was a close friend of Colvin.

"There are many like me who feel that they knew her because of her brilliant ability as a writer to open our eyes and our hearts to the reality of the world and tell the stories of real people. She experienced the struggle and the fear and the pain from alongside them and knew it intimately because she loved life and longed to put an end to suffering, the suffering that she reported on," the Rev Richard Carter, of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square told the congregation: 

Ex-Foreign Secretary Miliband said it was an extraordinary memorial service, "passion, respect, humour. Honoured to be part of it".

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dr Ajaz Anwar’s cartoon illustrations showcase old culture of Lahore

Jumbo Editorial Team

Dr Ajaz Anwar’s book of cartoon illustrations and Punjabi text entitled ‘Nae Reesan Sheher Lahore Diyan’ unveiling the culture and traditions of old Lahore was launched by the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) in collaboration with the Ministry of National Heritage and Integration and the House of Nanna Trust.

The book launch ceremony in Islamabad followed by the exhibition of cartoons and watercolour paintings on the theme of the book which revolves around the socio cultural life of Lahore and Lahoriites. 

 The book has not only preserved the cultural life of the people but the language of the Punjabi adds a special aroma to the work. It is spread over 352 pages with 107 topics containing thought-provoking and educating stories like ‘Bicycle’, ‘Day Padal Tay Padal’, ‘Khail Tamashy’, ‘Cha da Cup’ and ‘Sark Kandy Skol’. 

It features 50 illustrations, cartoons and paintings, based on social aspects of life of Lahore, including traditional games, sports, food and apparels.

Dr Ajaz Anwar has published the cartoons of his father Dr Anwar Ali, who was known for addressing social issues through the medium of cartoon making to deal with the subject using symbolic expressions. 

 “The centuries old traditions and folk/street life are our identity. The western style of life took people away from each other, making life dull and gloomy,” Dr Ajaz Anwar remarked.

Later he presented readings from ‘Reminiscences of Old Lahore’, based on the art and style of Dr Anwar Ali, who contributed political cartoons and later created the ‘Nanna’ character that held a satirical mirror to society.

He also wrote short stories in English and Punjabi, occasionally illustrated with sketches and photographs. 

 Speaking on the occasion, Kishwar Naheed and other literary figures shared their views about the collection that explored the traditional heritage of Lahore and the lifestyle of its people. 

The exhibition of cartoons and watercolour paintings on the same theme also attracted a large number of art lovers with glimpses of architectural beauty and traditional aspects of Lahore.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Over 150 exhibitors take part in Nigeria International Book Fair 2012

Jumbo Editorial Team

Over 150 exhibitors from Nigeria and other parts of the world participated in the 11th Nigeria International Book Fair 2012 which was held at the Multi-purpose halls of the University of Lagos from May 7 to 12.  

The six-day event was organized by the Nigerian Book Fair Trust Fund, a coalition of major stakeholders in the Nigerian book trade, as part of their avowed mission to empower the people by promoting reading culture and bringing books and other instructional materials closer to the people for better education and self-improvement

The fair also opened another window for many to network in the book and publishing sector with direct contact with major players in the industry from within and outside the country. For many who have been looking for where to buy books, connect with publishers, especially young writers, students as well as the general public, the fair provided an avenue to meet their educational needs under one roof in pleasant environment.  

Apart from the exhibition, one other major feature of the fair was the annual International Conference of Nigeria International Book Fair that brought together the movers and shakers in the book industry to rub minds on topical issues that bother on the stability of the industry.

The international conference was held at Afe Babalola Auditorium of the University of Lagos and the crucial issue threatening the growth of the book industry in Africa with the theme ‘The State of Infrastructural Development in Africa and the Future of the Book Trade.’

The speakers at the conference were of the view that though the book industry was lacking infrastructural support that should aid its growth, that there’s future for the book industry if major players think outside the box and treated the current challenges as surmountable.

The conference was chaired by Ambassador Segun Olusola, Chairman of African Refuge Foundation, while the keynote speaker was Ghana-born Richard Crabbe, a book expert from the World Bank group who has been in the book business for years. 

Amna Alam’s maiden collection of poetry launched in Karachi

Jumbo Editorial Team

 Amna Alam’s collection of poetry titled ‘Khushboo Se Likhi Fard’ was launched at Arts Council of Pakistan, having become the hub of literary and cultural activities in Karachi.

Quite a few literary critics and renowned poets were present in the launching ceremony, paying glowing tribute to Amna Alam, described as a complete poetess by one of the speakers. 

Although it’s her first-ever compilation of poetry in book form, she has been writing for the past three decades. 

 ‘Khushboo Se Likhi Fard’ contains different flavours of the Urdu poetry like naat, nazm and ghazal. It has been published by Dunya-e-Adab office and its copies are available at the leading bookstores priced at Rs 300. 

 Sarshar Siddiqui, an eminent critic, recalled that he first heard a couplet from her in the presence of literary giant Tabish Dehalvi. “On so many occasions I have asked Amna to publish her work. She has been able to carve out her own style of poetry despite being influenced by her mentor Sahba Akhtar,” Sarshar Siddiqui observed.

Dr Waqar Ahmed Zuberi, a renowned biologist, informed the audience about Amna being also an important member of Bazm-e-Science Adab, a literary movement for the promotion of Science and Technology which has been organizing monthly literary sittings in Karachi for more than 18 years. 

Professor Sehar Ansari, a noted poet, was of the opinion that Amna’s poetry reflected the troubles and harshness of life and she also used difficult style of poetry in the book. 

Talking about the blending of science into poetry, Ansari said that scientific poetry is an emerging trend and must be appreciated by the literary circles. 

Another senior poet and critic, Jazib Qureshi remarked that Amna is a poetess, an enlightened visionary and has perfectly weaved her life experiences into poetry while Auje Kamal, a famous literary critic and publisher of the book, praised Amna by describing her as a complete poetess.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

History of Glen Innes Hospital published in book form

Jumbo Editorial Team

The Glen Innes Hospital of New South Wales, Australia, is the focus of attention once more, with the launch of a book which tells its history. It covers the period 1874-1956 and is written by Jeannie Ross Fraser.  

“This work reflects research and writing over many years to record the achievements of a health service to Glen Innes and District for some 80 years,” Graham Wilson, Glen Innes Severn Council's Heritage Advisor and Councillor of the Royal Australian Historical Society, remarked in his address.

Based on meticulous research in the Glen Innes Examiner and other records, Fraser’s work was originally published in many editions of the ‘Land of the Beardies History Bulletins’.

In the foreword, there is an outline of Fraser’s dedication to the health system after her graduation as a nurse as well as her contribution to the wider Glen Innes community. She has been described as a truly remarkable person with a special mention of her knowledge of nursing and the related health system helping to bring the story to life.  

Fraser, through her professional education in nursing, a graduate of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, has been in a unique position to ensure that this history, spanning a century, was not only engrossing but accurate.

Her book will serve as a model of inspiration for other regions. The organization into periods of time means that other researchers investigating life in Glen Innes during particular periods can turn to the relevant section and research topics such as Life during World War One or Two, the Great Depressions of the 1930s or the immediate post war period in the 1940s and 1950s.

The book is not about the hospital but also demonstrates how health care was linked to the support given by individuals located in Glen Innes and the surrounding district.

A further great strength is the number of photographs that have been included and the fact that much time has been devoted to identifying many of the personalities. There is always the hope that many other photographs may be located in the community.