Frere Hall is a historical building in Karachi, which dates back to the British colonial era. Constructed in 1865, Frere Hall was built to serve as the city’s town hall. However, it is now a library and an exclusive exhibition space. But while Frere Hall is noted for its majestic design and frequent art exhibitions, there is another thing which is popular about the famous venue. It hosts the most popular book fair in Karachi. Book lovers from all over the city, flock to explore some of the best books to read, on every Sunday of the month.
Not only will you find a wide range of local and international publications, you are sure to come across some of the most treasured literary gems which have been buried in the sands of time.
Situated in Saddar Town, Bagh-e-Jinnah or Frere Hall is tucked in between Fatima Jinnah Road and Abdullah Haroon Road. For those of you who have just moved to Karachi, Frere Hall lies next to the colonial-era Sind Club. Currently, it is open for public and is also one of the most popular tourist spots in Karachi, thanks to the building’s beautiful architecture and rich history.
Sunday Book Fair at Frere Hall Karachi
The Sunday book bazaar at Frere Hall was initially started by KMC in 1997. It continued to entertain book lovers until 2003, when it was closed to public, following a terrorist attack outside the US consulate in 2002. However, book enthusiasts were thrilled to witness the re-opening of the book fair in 2011, as the office of US consulate was moved to Mai Kolachi.
While booksellers decided to abandon the fair a few years back, owing to the shrinking number of visitors and lack of facilities, it was recently revived in December 2018.
Since the re-launch of the book fair, several renowned political and literary figures have been visiting the book fair to promote book reading among people of all ages. It is a common place for writers, intellectuals, journalists, and scholars to search and buy new and old publications.
Karachiites show great interest in books which are available at the fair, every Sunday. The number of stalls are likely to be doubled over time. The venue is also a great spot for organizing book launches, exhibitions, and literary festivals.
All stalls are set up in the sheltered park of the hall where avid readers hop on from one stall to the other and steal interesting finds to build their book collection. There are also hundreds of books for children available in the Sunday book bazaar at Frere Hall. From story books to flash cards and puzzles; there is a book for every child at the bazaar. You can also find detailed books on healing sciences, cookery, photography, arts and crafts, and encyclopedias at affordable price tags.
Find a Treasure of Best Books to Read
There are a few specific stalls which are solely dedicated to Urdu literature. Here, you can find precious collections of history’s most iconic writers. These include Manto, Ismat Chughtai, Amrita Pritam, Mumtaz Mufti, Qurat-ul-Ain Hyder, Mushtaq Yusufi and many others. There are also other notable novels from contemporary writers such as Umera Ahmed and Nemrah Ahmed.
The famous book fair in Karachi doesn’t disappoint poetry lovers as you can find classic poetry collections from legendary poets such as Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmed Faiza, and several other notable poets of the sub-continent. Scientific journals and science fiction novels penned down by researchers and scientists from all over the world are also available. The best part about the book fair is that all books are extremely affordable. Prices start from as low as PKR. 70. However, some precious editions are priced according to their literary significance.
Visitors continue to visit the Sunday book fair at Frere Hall, regardless of the weather, as they are able to find timeless editions of literary masterpieces. You can find fiction, auto-biographies, books on history or art, and book of all genres.
This incredible addition to the public space is sure to pull in more crowds in future. Popular book stalls include the Hero Book Shop where you can also order books that you want to buy but can’t find at the fair.
Frere Hall Book Fair: A Must-Visit Spot for All Book Lovers
It is interesting to note that people from all walks of life visit the fair. Iftikhar Ahmed Shalwani, the commissioner of Karachi, inaugurated the re-launch of the fair in a simple ceremony in December 2018. He has assured that more facilities will be provided to visitors in terms of food and drinks and seating arrangement.
Without a doubt, this is a popular book fair in Karachi. Here where you can find stalls from well-known publishers to small book shop owners. There are hundreds of best books to read available at stalls. Some stall owners run their own shops in Saddar and Urdu Bazar.
Apart from being a hub for intellectuals, Frere Hall is also famous for its massive park, Sadequain gallery, and library. So before you bid farewell to Frere Hall, don’t forget to take pleasure in the beauty of the historic building. The ceilings are well-decorated with Sadequain’s gifted genius and the library is home to thousands of prized publications.
If you are searching for fresh prints or second-hand copies of both non-fiction and fiction, Frere Hall hosts the most popular book fair in Karachi to provide you timeless classics and works from contemporary literature. It’s also a good place to socialize as it’s a popular tourist attraction. In fact, Frere Hall is particularly ideal for solo tourists visiting Karachi for the first time. Not only do you get to read and buy books, but you also get to meet like-minded bookworms. Timings are from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, every Sunday.
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