LAHORE -  The sixth two-day edition of the annual Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) will commence from February 24 at the Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall.

Confirmed speakers, as part of the conversations and panel discussions planned, include, amongst others, journalist and historian Christoper De Bellaigue; historian Audrey Truschke, Booker-prize winner Ben Okri; activist and urban theorist Arif Hasan; British-Pakistani food writer Sumayya Usmani; Iranian artist and curator Vali Malhouji; Urdu poet and scholar Iftikhar Arif; feminist poet Kishwar Naheed; Somali-British novelist Nadifa Muhammad; short-story writer and critic Aamer Hussein; Iraqi award-winning poet, novelist, and scholar Sinan Antoon; and more.

LLF this year will feature Dastangoi and an evening with Pakistan's prized orator Zia Mohyeddin on Why Shakespeare is Shakespeare.

"LLF during the past five editions in Lahore has burnished Lahore's place where ideas and debate triumph in the public realm," said Razi Ahmed, founding director of the LLF.

"It has engaged students and citizens to hear vibrant discussions on a range of diverse themes to mark book launches and honour our great citizens, literary and those who have shaped Pakistan's civic discourse."

"LLF brings world-class speakers and moderators," said eminent journalist and writer Ahmed Rashid, "to step away from the arrested TV news-cycle where facts are often overlooked, and the bigger picture is missing."

"The past two years have seen the LLF go international," said Nuscie Jamil, Director of the LLF. "Its worked with the Asia Society in New York to showcase Pakistan's arts and literary traditions, and in London, it had the privilege of hosting Malala at its second edition in the British Library."

LLF has honoured eminent Pakistanis abroad such as the writer Sara Suleri, and Pakistan's leading oncologist in New York, Dr Azra Raza, the Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine and Director of Myelodysplastic Syndrome ( MDS) Center at Columbia University.

LLF 2018 will feature a keynote address by Dr Raza. Dr Raza has worked closely with Suleri and they together translated Ghalib into English.

Some of the past speakers at the LLF in Lahore have included Tariq Ali, Vikram Seth, Tehmina Durrani, Joe Sacco, Abdullah Hussein, Kamran Lashari, Kamila Shamsie, Hari Kunzru, Intizar Hussain, Sana Mir, Romila Thapar, Asma Jahangir, Michael Palin, Mira Nair, Sharmila Tagore, Teju Cole, Steve Coll, Ayesha Jalal, Margaret MacMillan, Rasheed Araeen, William Dalrymple and Peter Frankopan.

LLF 2018 is a free public event, and seating at all sessions is on a first-come, first-served basis.