Lucknow Literary Festival


“Aaj Bhi Kehta Hai Har Sahib-e Nazar Roshan Khayaal,
Lucknow Ilm-o Adab Mein Aap Hi Apni Misaal”


The first ever Lucknow Literary Festival is an endeavour of the LUCKNOW Society, which is a non profit organisation dedicated to the cause of promoting & conserving the Culture, Tehzeeb & Heritage of Shaher-e Lucknow. Shamim A. Aarzoo, the founder of the society is instrumental in organising the festival !

Uttar Pradesh, is the land of Amir Khusru, Meer Taqi Meer, Asad Ullah Khan Ghalib, Mir Anees, Mirza Hadi Ruswa, Abdul Halim Sharar, Munshi Premchand, Yashpal, Amrit Lal Nagar, Raghupati Sahai Firaq Gorakhpuri, Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz, Pandit Brij Narain Chakbast, Jigar Moradabadi, Qurratulain Haider  and many others who gave us masterpieces and made epic contributions to Literature. Even today contemporary authors like Javed Akhtar, K P Saxena, Veena Talwar Oldenburg, Neelesh Misra, Prasoon Joshi, etc  have kept the flame of the written word burning bright. Despite the presence of such literary greats, Uttar Pradesh has not had a literary summit for a long time, even though we had a tradition of Kavi Sammelans, Mushairas & Nashists. To carry on this legacy, and consciously try to enlighten the reader, Lucknow Literary Festival is being started at the capital of Uttar Pradesh to promote the literary genius of Uttar Pradesh & Lucknow in particular ! The festival is an effort to bring forth the lutf of languages – Hindi, Urdu, Awadhi & English on a common platform.

Special award ‘Pride of Lucknow’ has also been initiated and presented to 7 legends : Padma Shri Bekal Utsahi – Outstanding Contribution in Awadhi Language; Malikzada Manzoor Ahmed – Outstanding Contribution in Urdu Language; Gopal Das Neeraj – Outstanding Contribution in Hindi Language; Vinod Mehta – Outstanding Contribution in English Language; Padma Shri Runa Banerjee – Outstanding Contribution in Women Empowerment; Jayant Krishna – Outstanding Contribution in Corporate Sector & Heritage Rejuvenation; Padma Shri Raj Bisaria – Outstanding Contribution in Art & Culture !

The Literary festival once again invoke the creative spirit of the city and bring together the scholars from all over the country. The festival witnessed a  diverse spectrum of novelists, playwrights, poets, screenwriters, journalists, lyricists and bloggers which usher in the revival of the city’s literary culture in 2 day festival at 3 auditoriums. Books were launched, contemporary and historical issues were discussed and debated threadbare. Through reading sessions the average reader re-discovered the joys of the books. Inaugurated traditionally with Vandana / Bharat Natyam Performance by Hiroko Fujiwara from Japan. The following books were launched : A Leaf Turns Yellow by Muzaffar Ali; In Good Faith by Saba Naqvi; Toke by Jugal Mody; The Virtuals by Anupam Sinha; Yaad Shaher by Neelesh Misra; Skand Spand by Skand Shukla; Hala Hala Nip by Appu Pen; Mayan by A P Maheshwari; The Sanjay Story by Vinod Mehta; The Oath of Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi; Aakhri Parwaaz by Aadil Rasheed Tilhari. Contemporary discussions were on Women Empowerment – Right to Expression; Social Network – The New Age Mantra; Samkaleen Hindi Kavita – Lokpriyata Ki Chunauti; Urdu Shayri Mein Lucknow Ka Maqaam; Zip Zap Zoom – The Future Comic Universe; Avadhi – Kal Aaj Aur Kal; Regulation on Media; Decoding Young Minds; Gadgets – Technology Upgrade; Wajid Ali Shah; A Century In Indian Cinema. Special Workshops were also conducted for the benefit of the audience like, Script Factory – How to write a movie script by Atul Tiwari; Aati Hai Urdu Zabaan Aate Aate to learn Urdu language through special software by TCS; History of Dastangoi by Ankit Chadha. ‘Tribute to the Urdu Poets of Lucknow’ & a paper on ‘Faiz Ahmed Faiz Ka Lucknow’ were another attractions of the festival.

There was also an entertainment quotient to the festival which highlighted through the cultural events like Dastangoi on Kabir, Sufi Qawwali, Mushaira, Performance of Neelesh Misra & Live Concert by Faridkot band. Award winning documentary ‘Nishaan-e Lucknow’ which highlighted the symbol of Fish in Awadh was also screened. The event further boost the magnetic pull of the city’s rich architectural heritage through photo exhibition of rare & new photographs of Lakhnau. Calligraphy, Vintage Car Exhibition, Chikan & Handicrafts on display were also added to the flavour of the festival. The world renowned zaiqa of Awadh was also the quintessential ingredient in the culture cauldron of the city. ‘Lucknow’s Got Talent’ was the another attraction for the Youth ! Naseeruddin Shah, Padma Shri Bekal Utsahi, Padma Shri Gulzar Dehlvi, Amaresh Mishra, Dolly Thakore, Veena Talwar Oldenburg, Roshan Taqui, Raja Mehmoodabad, Asif Mirza (direct descendant of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah from Kolkata), Padma Shri Runa Banerjee, Padma Shri Raj Bisaria, Padma Shri O P Agarwal, Waseem Bareilvi, Munawwar Rana, Malikzada Manzoor Ahmed, Anwar Jalalpuri, Sharib Rudaulvi, Pankaj Srivastava, Brijesh Pandey, Anirudh Singh, Amrendra Tripathi, Prof Roop Rekha Verma, were some of the other participants of the festival. It was an opportunity to bring in the traveller as well as the ‘literary tourist’ to Lucknow. As an annual event, we hope to see it grow into a melting pot of idea’s and cultures where litterateurs come share and enjoy in the city of Ada, Andaaz and Adab.


“Ek Lutf-e Khaas Dil Ko Teri Aarzoo Me Hai,
Allah Jaane Kitni Kashish Lucknow Me Hai”