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- Creative Sparks Fly at LUMS Young Writers Workshop
Creative Sparks Fly at LUMS Young Writers Workshop
Although summer and Ramzan tend to be quieter periods in Pakistan universities, the Lahore Univeristy of Management Sciences (LUMS) is buzzing with young people these days. In addition to the Summer Coaching Camp for shortlisted NOP applicants, the LUMS Young Writers Workshop started on August 5 (and will continue till August 9). Organised by Bilal Tanweer of the Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Young Writers Workshop and Short Story Contest has already generated great interest across the country and brings together stellar creative talent to LUMS for a week-long intensive workshop.
Emerging from the country-wide short story contest organised as part of the workshop, eight young creative writers were selected for the workshop, including: Aliya Waqar, Amna Chaudhry; Babar Suleiman; Haneya Hasan Zuberi; Meraj Fatimah; Shakeel Ahmed; Syed Muhammad Mustehsan; and Waqas Ahmed. They were selected from a set of high quality entries received from young writers all over Pakistan.
This workshop is being conducted by Bilal Tanweer, himself a noted writer and translator, who teaches fiction writing at LUMS. His fiction, poetry, essays and translations have appeared in a number of international publications including Granta, Vallum, Critical Muslim, The Caravan, and Words Without Borders. Having studied creative writing at Columbia University, he was also selected as one of Granta’s New Voices in 2011.
Commenting on the high quality of the participants, Bilal Tanweer, who had conceived and has managed the programme said, “This group is different… [from regular students] …they are passionate about literature and constantly apply themselves to learn. This initiative will help inspire writers and motivate them to create a future for themselves in this field.”
Shakeel Ahmed, one of the participants from Peshawar, says, “This initiative is a great learning experience. I feel I can add more dimensions to my writing than ever before.” He further said that the way the interactive discussions are organised by Bilal Tanweer, makes everyone express their view points and leaves no stone unturned about the piece of writing under discussion.
The workshop also includes an appearance by guest faculty, writer Mohsin Hamid, the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Moth Smoke. He will be present to discuss his novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, with the attendees in the fourth session of the workshop. He will also guide the scholars on how he approached writing and how they can bring further improvements to their work.
The morning session comprises of in-depth discussions of writings by internationally acclaimed authors including: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Flannery O’ Conner, Italo Calvino and Mohsin Hamid. The afternoon sessions are a three-hour long intensive writing exercise to check how the students are able to apply their learning from the workshop. The students have a chance to respond with their own writings to what they have read and analysed in the morning session.
“The workshop teaches us technical aspects of literature. We are learning how these concepts can be applied to our writings”, says Waqas Ahmed, another workshop participant. He continues, “The exercises train us to go deeper into the sub-text of the writings. What we read for ourselves and what is the underlying meaning are two different things.”
The event has been sponsored by the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, LUMS and Ferozsons Laboratories Limited and with partnership of CityFM89 and The Express Tribune.