1. What is LitLight?
Litlight started with the dream to solve the problems which aspiring writers/poets/authors were facing across Pakistan. We observed that there are comparatively fewer opportunities in Pakistan for writers/authors to promote themselves or to polish their skills. As social entrepreneurs, we formally launched Litlight with the following mission:
1) Promote writers
2) Give them opportunities to polish their skills such as competitions, open mics, creative writing classes
3) Create an easy-to-use publishing method for their work (with 100% royalty and republishing rights given to the authors)
4) Connect local and international locals
5) Share their content with our readers across the world
It must be noted that now that Litlight is a stable startup, we have started completing the following tasks:
1) Solve problems of writers globally through our country ambassadors
2) Promote our national talents including writers, singers, artists, comedians, etc
2. How did your journey as a literary activist began?
My journey as a literary activist formally began two years ago after I somehow magically won the Chaichalk story writing competition. It was a big deal for me because there were about 70 participants; participants including experienced authors. Before this competition, I only identified myself as a poet who used to post online. An insecure poet who was always afraid of being judged. This competition not only freed me out of that insecurity but made me realize the potential I had. Soon, I found myself publishing my first book, an anthology that included five other contributors. I published an anthology as my first book as I wanted to promote other writers too. No wonder I soon founded Litlight, haha. My second poetry book, however, is my debut attempt to compile my poems. It has colored pages with words woven with love. It has the same title as the anthology ‘Saving a Soul’. It received many positive reviews which I have gratefully posted on the ‘Saving a Soul by Hareem Fatima’ facebook page.
3. Tell us about the Co-Founders of LitLight?
The Co-founders of Litlight are beyond amazing. After the former Co-founder abandoned Litlight completely, I had to look for others who would sincerely and passionately assist me with this dream. Moiz Shaukat is a 19-year-old motivational speaker who, at a very young age has earned several awards including the Youth Icon Award. His name can be found all over Google. He supports me with this dream as he is a writer himself and has immense respect for other writers, especially the emerging ones.
Arham Waseem, the other Co-founder isn’t any less. He is 19-years-old as well and loves writing motivational content. He is an A-levels business/psychology student and aspires to become a Counselor and ‘motivational writer’ in the future. He has proven his potential while he worked with the influential literary platform Pbwrp before officially agreeing to become my Co-founder in early 2019. Arham’s management, conflict management and leadership skills are matchless which led him to organize, arrange and manage Litlight’s first Open mic show in Karachi that was held on Friday, October 4, 2019.
4. Tell us about the Open Mic events LitLight held in Lahore and in Karachi?
Both events were brilliant. They gave us much insight into how to improve our future Open Mics. The Lahore event was a collaborated effort with a retired influential beatboxer/mimicry artist Tariq Mehmood Sahab. He supported us by providing a venue, inviting all sorts of talents like poets, singers and comedians that kept the audience entertained.
The Karachi Open mic show went even better under the leadership of Litlght’s Co-founder Arham Waseem. Muhammad Omar Iftikhar, Consultant/Mentor, LitLight helped us in arranging the event. Renowned personalities like motivational speaker Samad abbas, psychologist Sidra Javed, author Sophia Abid participated in this event. Omar Iftikhar also launched his book, “You Rise Today!” at this event. And hats off to the singers, comedians and the host Zeerak Khan for keeping the environment fun and lively.
5. Do you think our youth is attuned to literature?
I think as times are changing due to technological advancements, the youth is more into video content than written content. They prefer watching movies of Harry Potter instead of reading long, detailed books. It should be noted that J.K Rowling’s real fame came only after the movies were launched. Then again, there are still many across the globe who love writing and reading by heart. Technology cannot replace this love for literature from their hearts. Yet the percentage is dropping and we as literary activists really must do something about it.
6. What activities does LitLight pursue?
We are currently focusing on establishing our publishing wing, e-magazines, competitions and open mic shows.
7. Where do you see LitLight five years down the road?
Much work can be done in five years. Sometimes luck helps as well. I foresee LItLight to become a proper publishing house and a platform that promotes writers and authors. Also, I envision LitLight to have its branches and ambassadors in over 30 countries.
8. Your message for the youth of Pakistan?
My message to youth is rather a piece of advice. I need them to work hard, discover your talents and skills, create your realistic goals, stay focused on your dream, be empathetic, love yourself, value time, respect all and live a life of discipline. A successful future is built on these moral foundations.
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