Lit Con 18: Where arts and literature came to life!

The Ziauddin Atlas, an initiative led by students of Ziauddin University, recently organised ‘Lit Con 18’ at their campus in Clifton, Karachi. This event embraced the rising tide of cultural and literary curiosity emerging among the youth. A number of interactive sessions were held with the objective of uniting intellectuals, budding writers, readers, and literary enthusiasts.

During the opening ceremony, the university’s vice chancellor Professor Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, congratulated the Ziauddin Atlas on holding this event that celebrated arts and literature. He opined that arts must be promoted by educational institution and that ‘Lit Con 18’ does promise to do just that.

Ziauddin Atlas Chairperson Arfa Masihuddin delivered a speech emphasising the importance of such events. “It is a delight to organise this wonderful two-day conference. As long as we are here we will continue to bring to you more literary events like this,” she said.

Patron Dr Hafsa Mahida thanked the sponsor and collaborators of the event and said that the idea of organising ‘Lit Con 18’ was to promote creativity. Kiran Ashraf, Young Women Writers’ Forum (YWWF) vice president and one of the collaborators of ‘Lit Con 18’ said, “This event was much needed as we are still struggling to revive the literary culture in Pakistan. We congratulate the team of The Ziauddin Atlas and look forward to collaborating with them in future ventures,” she added.

Events held during ‘Lit Con 18’ were: A seminar on “Publishing: What’s the Holdup?” by Omar Iftikhar; “Doing the Best Photography with Your Phone Camera” by Tooba Bukhari, a photographer and a passionate designer and traveller. ‘Lit Con 18’ also featured a workshop on “Instagram and the Art of Digital Storytelling” by Baakh Nusrat, a fifth-year medical student, a photographer and social media content creator. Another workshop was on “Basics of Calligraphy- Making the Most of the Simplest Tools” by Dr Hafsa Mahida. Apart from serving as a patron of the Ziauddin Atlas, Dr Mahida is a dental surgeon and has been following her passion for calligraphy since she was a teenager. Natasha Japanwala conducted a creative writing workshop on “Seeing, Knowing and Being: Writing Towards a Richer Life”. She is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in English literature and creative writing. Her write-ups have appeared in local and international publications. A Poetry Slam contest was held judged by Shameneh Majid, Mariam Riaz, Dr. Asra Ahmed, Zoha Jabbar and Muhammad Ehsan. Winners of the contest were Lindsey High and Sarah Shamim.

The Editorial Board of The Ziauddin Atlas for 2018-19 includes: Arfa Masihuddin, Chairperson; Zakariya Irfanullah, Council Member; Maham Jawaid, Editor-in-Chief; Mohammad Ehsan, Urdu Editor; Fariha Saleem, English Editor; Maryam Shaikh, English Editor; Museera Irfan, English Editor; Hamna Kamran, English Editor; Rameen Faisal, Marketing Manager; Ahsan Fazal, Marketing Manager, Rafay Akhter and Preet Roshan, Official Photographers. Members of the Ziauddin Atlas Council are as follows: Dr. Hafsa Mahida, Zakariya Irfanullah, Arfa Masihuddin and Maham Jawaid Ahmed. Directors of Registration: Museera Irfan and Maryam Shaikh. Director of Events: Fariha Saleem. Director of Hospitality and Security: Zakariya Irfanullah. Directors of Finances: Hamna Kamran and Mohammad Ehsan. Directors of Logistics: Hamna Kamran, Ahsan Fazal, and Preet Roshan. Directors of Marketing and Social Media: Rameen Faisal, Rafay Akhter, and Preet Roshan.

It is interesting to note that ‘Lit Con 18’ brought to a single dais professionals from the fields of writing, photography, poetry, storytelling, reading, and calligraphy. Members of the Ziauddin Atlas have managed to set a trend for their university which can be taken up as a case study by other universities of how to successfully and gracefully integrate arts, culture, and literature in their extracurricular activities.

The writer is a columnist and author of You Rise Today!

Published in Daily Times, August 16th 2018.