It is often said that the trend of reading books and interest in literature is decreasing in our young generation. There are multiple reasons like different electronic gadgets and cable network for television are said to play the pivotal role. But the year 2013 proved something different. In this year record literary events were organized in different major cities of Pakistan and the young generation thronged into these events. What the great personalities from literary world say about 2013 and what they expect from the coming year, Sunday Plus asked and following are their views.

Shazaf Fatima Haider

Shazaf Fatima Haider needs no introduction since her debut novel ‘How It Happened’ has made prominent place on the book shelves in the market. By profession she is an English teacher at Karachi University but through her novel she has proved herself a great sociologist whose vigilant eye does not miss any change taking place in our society. Although she is only thirty years old but her deep insight into social issues and wit to expose the contemporary society of Pakistan, which is struggling to reconcile with changing times, is not less than any seasoned man who has passed through all the phases of his life.

Q: What are your New Year resolutions?

To be more grateful and to accept the good things that come my way. I want to lose some more weight and to stop chewing on supari.

Q: There is an increase in literary events in our country. For example Lahore Literary Festival happened for the first time. How do you see 2013?

More of the same, I'm hoping to see the emergence of a fiction prize for South-Asian literature, something to the equivalence of the DSC prize. It is also an idealistic wish to see book distribution go online in a much more significant way. The folks at kitabain.com really need to go national and international (and I think they're working towards this)- to bridge a very wide gap between bookstores and readers.

Q: What are your expectations for the year 2014?

I hope to complete my second novel and submit it to publishers. Also, I'd like to generate a dialogue about writing and issues of love and marriage in schools. There's so much nonsense out there about what constitutes love - girls and boys are brainwashed into emotionally-abusive relationships all the time. I think it's time to open up a more meaningful debate about what being in a healthy relationship really means.

Q: It is often said that the best literature is produced in the most difficult times. We are going through a socio-politically turbulent period. What are your views?

I agree that great suffering can lead to great literature. But most of the writers I see aren't directly exposed to it - including myself. Most aren't even in the country and those that are writing from the sidelines. So we're producing some great stories, but not great literature with universal resonances.

Q: Where do you see Pakistani Literature is heading towards?

Considering this is called the age of internet and information. Because I'm a teacher, I can see some fabulous writers in the making. But the literary scene is problematic. I don't see increasing opportunities for them to publish locally. Moreover, reviewers are mistaken for critics, which they are not. But I do think a lot more students will self-publish - and hopefully, continue to write their lives. Most important of all, distribution of books needs improvement. Without this, their writing just won't reach the readers.

Q: What are you planning to reread 2014?

I have no time to re-read anything except, perhaps, drafts of my second novel.

Afzal Ahmed Syed

Afzal Ahmed Syed, a legendary poet and translator. He is among the finest contemporary Urdu poets whose works have created a new and powerful strain in modern Urdu poetry. Because of his global poetic vision and a modern sensibility which he infuses in his work with powerful diction he is acknowledged as master of both classical and modern Urdu poetic expression.

Q: What are your New Year resolutions?

Resolution is a fancy word. It suits great aspiration like ‘Pakistan Resolution’. In 2014, I would love to read, meet friends and travel as much as possible.

Q: There is an increase in literary events in our country. For example Lahore Literary Festival happened for the first time. How do you see 2013?

I see it as a positive development. These events provide a good opportunity of interaction between authors. The media coverage of these activities brings books and authors into limelight. They promote sale of books. I suggest that each event should have a session for children literature and have stalls for children books.

Q: What are your expectations for the year 2014?

I expect more books to be published, more non-fiction than pure literary work. The year 2014 would be a very significant one in context to Pakistan. The withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan and revision of relations between Iran and America would influence us.

Q: It is often said that the best literature is produced in the most difficult times. We are going through a socio-politically turbulent period. What are your views?

We are quite strange people, quite unpredictable. We may produce great literary work, we may not. No disturbing event in our history would have been more significant than creation of Bangladesh, but there is no worthwhile writing on it. I am not hopeful of any extraordinary masterpiece. Be content with run-of-mill stuff.

Q: Where do you see Pakistani Literature is heading towards? Considering this is called the age of internet and information.

Pakistani literature in English is going to prosper.

Q: What are you planning to reread 2014?

Great works of Urdu literature.

Asghar Nadeem Syed

Asghar Nadeem Syed's domain of writing spans television plays, poetry, essays, short stories and newspaper column. He has been teaching for the last 33 years. Among his most popular works are the television serials Hawaian, Chand Grehen, Piyas, Nijat and Ghulam Gardish.

Q: What are your New Year resolutions?

I am writing my autobiography, engaged in teaching Film and TV to my students; my second collection of poetry is being published in 2013.

Q: There is an increase in literary events in our country. For example Lahore Literary Festival happened for the first time. How do you see 2013?

2013 was a very busy year in terms of literary events and festivals. This trend will be followed in the coming years. The most significant feature was the participation of common public, students and intellectual of every field of art.

Q: What are your expectations for the year 2014?

I don’t see any substantial change in the coming year. These trends will follow.

Q: It is often said that the best literature is produced in the most difficult times. We are going through a socio-politically turbulent period. What are your views?

We are in difficult times but it is not necessary that our writers are responding to such issues. We are in a confusing mental state because society is divided in so many groups and mind sets. Writers are also facing different stresses. Literature always responds with a passage of time.

Q: Where do you see Pakistani Literature is heading towards?

Pakistani literature is not threatened by internet or information explosion. It is shaping its meaning as usual.

Q: What are you planning to reread 2014?

I don’t know what to reread may be some fiction or poetry from the un known world or less exposed world.

Bapsi Sidhwa

Bapsi Sidhwa is an award winning Pakistani novelist striving above all to bring women's issues of the Indian subcontinent into public discussion. She was raised in Lahore but now lives in Houston, Texas. Her novels Cracking India, The Pakistani Bride, The Crow Eaters, An American Brat have been translated and published in several languages. Among her many honors Sidhwa received the Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe/Harvard, the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Pakistan's highest national honor in the arts, and the LiBeraturepreis in Germany and the 2007 Primo Mondello Award in Italy.

Q: What are your New Year resolutions?

My new Quit smoking and I really mean it.

Q: There is an increase in literary events in our country. For example Lahore Literary Festival happened for the first time. How do you see 2013?

2013 was a wonderful year for literature in which impressive literary festivals were organized with the participation of eager youngsters thronging to it.

What are your expectations for the year 2014?

I hope that the extremists will learn tolerance a let others live their lives peacefully.

Q: It is often said that the best literature is produced in the most difficult times. We are going through a socio-politically turbulent period. What are your views?

Writing needs time to dream and space and the means to write. Difficult times are dramatic times and drama makes for good fiction. Personal suffering can make for insightful story telling – strangely enough humorous writing.

Q: Where do you see Pakistani Literature is heading towards?

I see more young writers like Mohsin Hamid, Bina Shah, Mouddin are carrying the torch forward.

Q: What are you planning to reread 2014?

I have suddenly taken to reading John Grisham. P.G. Wodehouse, Tolstoy etc are always worth dipping into again and again.

Nusrat Manzoor Khan

Nusrat Mnzoor Khan got popularity from her debut Urdu novel Ufaq Ke Us Paar Ke Chah Mai, which is about a young couple, who travel abroad in search of greener pastures, as they raise their children in different cultures. The story starts in Pakistan and moves to Manila, Hawaii, Paris, and Boston (USA). It depicts what the family members gain and lose in the process, how their journeys unfold through unseen ups and downs, and their compromises and sacrifices. Ms Manzoor spent the year 2013 actively participating in all the literary events in the country.

Q: What are your New Year Resolutions?

I am hoping a busy schedule for 2014. My deep down pledge is to complete my on-going writing work initiated in 2013 and strongly determined to remain updated with the fresh outcomes in the literary world.

Q: There is an increase in literary events in our country e.g. Lahore, literary festivals happened for the first time, How do you see 2013?

In my opinion, the year 2013 seemed very promising and successful with regards to literary activities. Two famous international Urdu conferences held in Lahore where many highly educated and respected speakers and audiences enjoyed attending them.

Q: What are your expectations for the year 2014?

It matters a little for me the years, months, weeks and days. I believe to make it happen so I do it. In other words we must make the best out of the present time. So that’s what I expect from the year 2014, not letting a single moment wasted, that’s my way.

Q: It’s often said that the best literature is produced in the most difficult Times. We are going through a social-political turbulent period. What are your views?

The present period seems to me even harder under the current socio-political and economical circumstances, but the way the education has spread to most people and the means of transportation and communication have far developed, it is hoped that better literary materials could be produced if norm of the societies are well set and the basic needs of the people are properly met.

Where do you see Pakistani literature is heading towards considering this called the age of internet and information?

As the socio-political changes are taking place and the world is coming close with the internet and information media development, the Pakistani literature is also becoming modernized with open, straightforward expressions of thoughts, including unethical and improper type of expressions and description which are somewhat away from the real norms and values of the Pakistani culture and an easy way to go along. The most of the TV dramas and the Movies are the living examples of modern day Pakistani literature. It’s said that we must move with the changes in the world, but I don’t think that we must adopt all those undesirable values of the cultural norms that could be avoided and we can still respectfully live in this world.

Q: What are you planning to reread 2014?

I have better hopes and expectations from 2014, but I know very well that it’s me who has to plan for myself and finish it, keeping the lessons learned and infirmities of the past marking my milestones and laying a strong healthy foundation to build my future. Same is true for Pakistan’s literature, as the foundation has been laid in 2013.