e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

The Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference


Edinburgh Castle

This major event starts later this month and continues for a year. It is peripatetic and online and will cover a very broad range of topics of interest to writers and their readers.

Their website’s home page sums up what they are aiming for:

The Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference is a unique series of events that will bring writers together around the world to create an historic picture of the role of literature today.

The conversation begins at the Edinburgh International Book Festival where 50 world renowned writers will gather every afternoon from 17-21 August 2012 to discuss the five topics that almost brought writers to blows during the infamous Writers’ Conference of 1962.

Starting in Edinburgh, the World Writers’ Conference will go on to visit 15 different cities over the following 12 months giving writers in different countries the chance to add their voice to the growing debate about writing and its relationship to contemporary life.

The conversation will continue online, … on the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference website, with live broadcasts of the events in Edinburgh, videos of the international events and plenty of opportunities to have your say.

Questions like ‘Will the novel remain writers’ favourite narrative form?’ and ‘Should freedom of speech ever have limits?’ will be grouped into the main themes and discussed by writers and the public.

The main themes have been chosen to reflect those of the 1962 conference, called ‘infamous’ on the current conference home page (see above). At that time they roused a great deal of passion and argument and it will be interesting to see if they get the same response fifty years on, with a different group of writers. They are:

  • Should literature be political?
  • Style versus content
  • National literature
  • Censorship today
  • The future of the novel

The book festival mentioned above runs from 11 to 27 August 2012.

I’m looking forward to reading and hearing the discussions. A good many of the preoccupations of 1962 have now gone or been resolved, but others are still active and worth looking at again.

Photo from Free-Photo-Gallery.


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2 thoughts on “The Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference

  1. Francina on said:

    This looks interesting, thank you for sharing.

    Ciao, Francina


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