The Celeritas Files – Review
Action Thriller, Book Launch, Fiction / October 17, 2017

“I think that Leroy is in the process of buying a diamond,” he replied, “and convincing the sellers that it is actually a peanut.” A story of corporate espionage, the crux of the matter could be summed up by this statement alone. A fast paced story with several twists and turns, The Celeritas Files keep you guessing if the good guys will win or would the underdogs triump. Focusing around an extremely capable R&D firm Bliksem, it follows the lives of its management and senior members as they make a breakthrough in the world of batteries. A phenomenal development in technology, the new battery could be charged in under two minutes and the firm is looking to shake hands with the largest French firm manufacturing luxury phones, Leroy. Bliksem is on the verge of bankruptcy and his founder and managing director, Sivakumar, makes the biggest sales pitch of his life. As he continues his battle, his team is facing a demon he has no idea off. The story starts with senior members of Bliksem at a Christmas party. The leader and single mother Shaina, the reserved Amaan, the intense Nandini and the lively Ravi who swings the other way. Accompanying…

Talk about Basila and the Street Crew – Press Release
Book Launch, Speaker Session / September 17, 2017

Girl Belonging to a Racial Minority Fights Social Ills through Civic Participation in this Comic Book Series Karachi, September 17: Basila, a young girl from the Makrani community of Sindh is an active citizen. From child labor to animal abuse, she is troubled by all social ills of the community. That’s where she rises to the challenge and takes to teach homeless aspiring artists to pursue their passion through painting visual messages of love, peace and interfaith harmony on public walls and open spaces. Streets of Karachi are her classrooms and the city walls are her canvas. Basila and the Street Crew is one of Azcorp Entertainment’s breakthrough comic books. While it focuses on various societal issues, it draws attention to a very important theme of social inclusion by introducing a transgender character. Riffat Apa, the aunt of the protagonist, is the leading character. She also shares the same passion for the country and her surroundings like Basila. With various incidents of transphobia reported every day in Pakistan, the need to normalize their existence is ever crucial. “More than anything, the transgender community of Pakistan wants acceptance”, said Anain Shaikh, the co-creator and illustrator of Basila and the Street Crew….

Art Book Launch: Basila & The Street Crew
Book Launch / August 18, 2017

Karachi, August 17: Basila, a young girl from the Makrani community of Sindh is an active citizen. From child labor to animal abuse, she is troubled by all social ills of the community. That’s where she rises to the challenge and takes to teach homeless aspiring artists to pursue their passion through painting visual messages of love, peace and interfaith harmony on public walls and open spaces. Streets of Karachi are her classrooms and the city walls are her canvas. Basila and the Street Crew is one of Azcorp Entertainment’s breakthrough comic books. While it focuses on various societal issues, it draws attention to a very important theme of social inclusion by introducing a transgender character. Riffat Apa, the aunt of the protagonist, is the leading character. She also shares the same passion for the country and her surroundings like Basila. With various incidents of transphobia reported every day in Pakistan, the need to normalize their existence is ever crucial. “More than anything, the transgender community of Pakistan wants acceptance”, said Anain Shaikh, the co-creator and illustrator of Basila and the Street Crew. “We’ve aimed to neither glorify nor victimize a transgender person but to rather show them in everyday…

Book Launch – The Runaway
Book Launch / March 28, 2016

[Press Release] Umair Naeem released his second book ‘The Runaway’, published by Tara-India Research Press, at a book launch event at Liberty Books Karachi. The launch was moderated by Yusra Askari, a print and broadcast journalist. The Runaway, a drama novel set in Pakistan, is a narrative of four individuals from different walks of life, brought together in their search for hope and redemption in the midst of a whirlpool of hate. The Runaway is Naeem’s second novel. His first novel, released in 2010, was titled Drowning Shadows. The main characters of the book are Sarmad, a man driven by vengeance, Kashan, a self-proclaimed intellectual Karachiite, Nilofer a fiercely independent single mother determined to fight for her child and Falak Sher, a criminal on the lookout for opportunities to profit. The lives of these four individuals crisscross in The Runaway; as Sarmad hunts for what he hopes will be the catharsis to his past, Kashan wonders if he can ever fall in love again, Nilofer tries to convince herself that she is as strong as she lets on for the world and Falak finds ways to summon power and control his destiny. Umair Naeem shares, “The Runaway is a story of how lives change. Highlighting the dichotomy in Pakistan, the novel…

OUP launches ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove’ by Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri
Book Launch / September 15, 2015

Press Release Lahore, September 8: Oxford University Press launched Former Foreign Minister Pakistan Mr. Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s much anticipated book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove’ on Tuesday at a local hotel in Lahore. Over 500 people attended the event including government officials, distinguished literary personalities, professionals from the public and private sector and members of the media. ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove’ is the first-ever comprehensive account of the most promising dialogue between India and Pakistan by a Pakistani Foreign Minister who directly contributed to moving the peace process forward. From an in-depth analysis of the Kashmir issue and the complex nature of the Pakistan-US-Afghanistan-India quadrangular relationship, Kasuri’s book provides key insights into Pakistan’s foreign policy during a critical period in our history. Mani Shankar Aiyar M.P. (Former Cabinet Minister, Government of India) was the keynote speaker at the event. Ameena Saiyid OBE (Managing Director, Oxford University Press) gave the welcome address and the panel of experts included the notable media personnel Najam Sehti (Former Chief Minister Punjab), Rashed Rahman (Editor Daily Times), Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami (Chief Editor Daily Pakistan) and Arif Nizami (CEO Channel 24). Ameena Saiyid OBE said that it was during Khurshid Kasuri’s tenure as Foreign…

Omar Shahid’s Second Book Releasing Soon
Book Launch, Upcoming / June 4, 2015

As promised during Karachi Literature Festival 2014, Omar Shahid Hamid is releasing his new book “The Spinner’s Tale” on 19th June 2015. Different from “The Prisoner”, the successful take on Karachi’s violent politics and terrorism, “The Spinner’s Tale” deals with the same problems of violence and terrorism. Omar did not confirm if it was continuation of The Prisoner, with same characters, but he did say it dealt with the same challenges that were explored in the first novel.   About The Author: Omar Shahid Hamid has been part of Pakistan’s Police Force for over a decade and had been a close friend of the slain police officer Chaudhry Aslam. His father, Shahid Hamid, was director of Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (now K-Electric) when he was shot dead while leaving from home. The killers were apprehended, court trial ran its course right up to Supreme Court and after more than decade one of the main accused, Saulat Mirza, was hanged in 2015 after the suspension of capital punishment in the wake of Peshawar Massacre. Omar wrote his first novel, “The Prisoner”, while on sabbatical leaves to UK and it received massive success. Omar is now releasing his second novel, The Spinner’s Tale, on…

Book Launch – “Equinox”
Book Launch / March 24, 2015

Heena Jadav Sunil signing books Heena Jadav Sunil has launched her revised edition of Equinox on 23rd March 2015 during Y.A.L.E festival held at Alliance Francais. Organized in the library, it was moderately packed as the host introduced Heena and her work. The book launch was preceded by an author talk by Umair Naeem, who penned the novel Drowning Shadows, and stayed back for Heena’s book launch. Heena continued from where Umair’s questions had left off and asked the audience why in Pakistan we are so reluctant to explore genres, why publishing houses have no idea of literary agents, why Pakistani authors don’t break from the cliched writing and why the only books in demand from Pakistani authors are almost always synonymous with either terrorism or social problems. Two colleagues, Ayesha and Hiba, read out poems that were contributed to the novel. As a fantasy romance, the novel is much different than the books usually written by local authors and as one of the audience members rightly pointed out, “When our people, including youngsters, are buying books like 50 Shades and Twilight, why not read something from the same genre but of much higher quality?” Apart from Umair, the session was…

Book Launch – “The Room in the Mausoleum”
Book Launch / March 18, 2015

Book launchPhoto Courtesy: Sheba Sultan Sheba Sultan and Rabeya Ali Faridi launched their book “The Room in the Mausoleum” at Karachi Arts Council on 17th March 2015. A collection of 7 short stories, the two authors have shared life experiences from diverse point of views. The launch was attended by around 100 people and an esteemed panel of speakers was lined up for the occasion. Heena Jadav Sunil, author of Equinox trilogy, was the first speaker to take the podium and talk about how much the stories were written from the heart. Bishop (Rt. Rev.) Sadiq Daniel also commended the young authors and congratulated them for taking such a major step in their lives. IBA professor Yaseen Ahmed Minai spoke about the importance of writing and telling stories, the power of observation and strength of youth to change nation’s future with their words. Haseena Moin shared her experience, much to the amusement of all in attendance, where she had lost the book and had Sheba read her the stories over the phone before coming to attend the launch. Other speakers, most prominent being Sehar Ansari, shared their experiences and stressed the importance of this achievement by the young writers. The…

“A Season For Martyrs” Now Available on Audible
Audio Book, Book Launch / March 13, 2015

Bina Shah has launched the audio book of her latest novel A Season For Martyrs. Narrated by Pakistan’s well known comedian Saad Haroon, the story follows a character Ali Sikandar during the final months of the slain former Prime Minister, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. Published at Audible, following is the excerpt/publisher’s summary of the novel:   A harrowing account of the last three months of Benazir Bhutto’s life. October 2007. Pakistan’s former prime minister Benazir Bhutto returns home after eight years of exile to seek political office once more. Assigned to cover her controversial arrival is TV journalist Ali Sikandar, the estranged son of a wealthy landowner from the interior region of Sindh. While her presence ignites fierce protests and assassination attempts, Ali finds himself irrevocably drawn to the prodemocracy People’s Resistance Movement, a secret that sweeps him into the many contradictions of a country still struggling to embrace modernity. As Shah weaves together the centuries-old history of Ali’s feudal family and its connection to the Bhuttos, she brilliantly reveals a story at the crossroads of the personal and the political, a chronicle of one man’s desire to overcome extremity to find love, forgiveness, and even identity itself. Audiobook Details: Written…

Book Launch – “Magic Within” by Manal Shakir
Book Launch / February 28, 2015

Manal Shakir with her debut novel “Magic Within” Liberty Books today hosted book launch of Manal Shakir’s debut novel, Magic Within. The event was planned out in the traditional manner with space for about 50 audience members and a moderator to set the direction for the launch. Farheen Zehra, Karachi representative of Desi Writers Lounge, played the role of moderator for the launch. The event started at 6:15 pm and after introductions the theme and story of the book came under discussion. Manal excitedly told about her inspiration for the story and how she missed Karachi when she moved to USA after marriage. The story took about 4 years to complete and it was a slow process where she took regular breaks, returning to the story and re-editing the draft as it progressed. It’s a story about Karachi (not named outright) and a circus, of family relations and marriages where the protagonists Adnan and Reena (husband and wife) live the way Karachittes do. Their stories, interspersed with the way a circus functions, have all the glitter and gold in front but darker realities behind the scenes … marriage that goes very, very wrong but doesn’t appear that way from outside….