The Edinburgh World Writers Conference began in Edinburgh in August 2012 and will return to Edinburgh for its final sessions in August 2013. Along the way Conference events will be held in 15 countries around the world: Germany, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Egypt, India, Congo, China, Turkey, Belgium, Trinidad, Portugal, France, Malaysia and Australia. Have a look at the events which have been held, below.




Edinburgh International Book Festival

17-21 August 2012

The first events of the Conference took place at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, bringing some of the best of British and international writing talent together to discuss how writing and the imagination impact on our lives. Keynote addresses were given by Ahdaf Soueif, Ali Smith, Irvine Welsh, Patrick Ness and China Miéville. Browse videos of the events here.



Berlin International Literature Festival

4-16 September 2012

German author Georg Klein was joined by Sophie Cooke and Tim Parks at the Berlin leg of the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference on Saturday 15 September 2012 at Haus der Berliner Festspiele. Georg Klein presented his keynote text on ‘The Future of the Novel’ and the three authors took part in a discussion in front of a live audience at the International Literature Festival Berlin (ilb). On Sunday 16 September, the authors continued their discussion as part of a smaller group of authors and journalists at the British Council, Berlin, Alexanderplatz. The sessions were streamed live on both and on this website. Browse what was said at the German sessions here.

Berlin International Literature Festival website


South Africa

Open Book Cape Town

20-24 September 2012

At the Cape Town Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, 20 and 21 September 2012, South African writers Antjie Krog and Njabulo Ndebele addressed ‘Should Literature be Political?’, UK based writer Anjali Joseph ‘A National Literature’ and Scottish writer Keith Gray, ‘Censorship Today’.  The sessions took place in front of a live audience at Open Book Cape Town. Browse what was said at the South African session here.



International Festival of Authors

18-28 October 2012

The Canadian segment of the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference featured five events from 24 – 28 October, highlighted by a two keynote address evening with Miriam Toews speaking on “A National Literature” and China Miéville on “The Future of the Novel.” Four other events including three round tables with a total of 12 authors were presented, entitled variously: “Basic Instinct: Style vs.Content”, featuring Marjorie Celona, Rebecca Lee and Anakana Schofield; “Zombies, Witches, Killers and Cowboys: The Present and Future of the Novel” with Deborah Harkness, Alen Mattich, Jo Nesbø and Corey Redekop; and “A National Literature?” featuring Liam Card, A. L. Kennedy, Beatrice MacNeil, Kristel Thornell and Irvine Welsh.

A grand finale reading/interview with Chan Koonchung on “Censorship Today” took place on Sunday afternoon, 28 October. All events are open to the public and are held at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. Complete information including author bios can be found at

Browse all the videos and blogs from the Canadian EWWC sessions here.



Krasnoyarsk Book Culture Fair

31 October – 3 November 2012

The Russian leg of the Edinburgh World Writer’s Conference was in Siberia, where UK and Russian authors tackled three of the conference themes over three days at the Krasnoyarsk Book Culture Fair.  To kick things off Melvin Burgess discussed with fellow author Andrei Astvatsaturov UK and Russian perspectiveson the universal questionShould Literature be Political’?  Day 2 explored The Future of the Novel’ with keynotes from UK writer Tibor Fischer and the Russian author and critic Konstantin Milchin.  On the third and final day Theresa Breslin brought the Scottish view to the question of ‘A National Literature?’ drawing comparison and contrast with a country the size of Russsia, represented by Kirill Kobrin.

All sessions were moderated by Russian writers and critics: Irina Prokhorova, Ilya Boyashev, and Linor Goralik. Keynote speeches led into a panel discussion with the moderator and other EWWC participating authors, and a Q&A with the professional and public audience at the Fair. All the sessions were streamed live; you can browse the Russian EWWC discussions here.

Krasnoyarsk Book Culture Fair website



University of Cairo, Diwan Bookstore and General Egyptian Book Organisation

Please note: We regret to announce that the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference Cairo, originally postponed from December 8th – 9th 2012, will not be rescheduled.

We will publish the keynote speeches by Sahar El Mougy and Tamim al-Barghouti on the EWWC website, where comments and responses will be welcomed. In the absence of a live event, we would like to remind all interested in the project, particularly its followers in Egypt and in the wider Arab world, that you are warmly invited to continue to follow the Conference and join in on the discussion boards at , which are available for comments and conversation on the Conference themes, as well as via Twitter #worldwritersconf and our Facebook page,

Previous Information posted on the event:

The fifth international event of the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference comes to Cairo, bringing some vital voices to the global EWWC debate. We will be asking big questions and building on the themes first raised back in August at the original EWWC event in Edinburgh.

In the late afternoon on 8 December Egyptian poet and political commentator Tamim al Barghouti will ask the question Should Literature be Political?’ with a response from Scottish poet Aonghas MacNeacail. Earlier that day writer and translator Sahar el Mougy will look at The Future of the Novel, addressing an Egyptian and international audience to contemplate where literature is headed. British novelist Maggie Gee will respond.

The above events will take place on the 8 December at the Civil Education Centre, El Borg Street, El Gezirah, in partnership with Diwan Bookstore, the General Egyptian Book Organisation and the University of Cairo. A related series of events – Literary Cafés with the UK writers and a Translation Slam – will take place from 1:30pm – 5:30pm on the 7 December at the British Council offices in Agouza, Cairo.  All events will have simultaneous interpretation in English and Arabic. All events are free. Please turn up fifteen minutes before the advertised start time.



Jaipur Literature Festival

24-28 January 2013

Ahdaf Soueif, Tahar ben Jelloun, Basharat Peer and John Burnside took part in panel discussions with other international writers on the EWWC conference themes of ‘A National Literature?’ and ‘Censorship Today’ at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival, the largest literary festival in the Asia-Pacific region.

The above events took place on Saturday 26 & Monday 28 January, at the Jaipur Literature Festival at the Diggi Palace, Jaipur.  Read Basharat Peer’s keynote on Censorship Today here.

Jaipur Literature Festival website



Etonnants Voyageurs Brazzaville

13 – 17 February 2013

Le festival de l’Afrique qui vient (“Africa rising”) took place at Salle des conferences internationales, Palais des Congres in Brazzaville. Topics discussed included: A National Literature (Keynote by Alain Mabanckou, Chair Florent Couau-Zotti); Censorship Today (Keynote by Emmanuel Dongala, Chair Boualem Sansal); Should Literature Be Political? (Keynote by Leonora Miano, Chair Dominic Thomas); Style vs Content (Keynote by Florent Couau-Zotti, Chair Nimrod); The Future of the Novel (Keynote Helon Habila, Chair Nick Barley).

Have a look at the keynote speeches from this event, in French and in English and the keynote videos in French.



Yaşar University, Izmir

27-28 February 2013

On the afternoon of 27 February, the conference topic ‘A National Literature’ was discussed at Yaşar University, İzmir with a Keynote speech given by Turkey author Sema Kaygusuz and a response given by UK author Panos Karnezis. On 28 Feburary, ‘The Future of the Novel’ Keynote was given by Inci Aral, and a response given by Scotland author Denise Mina. This discussion was followed by a reception. Related events include a round table discussion on each topic and creative writing workshops with students.



The Bookworm International Literary Festival, Beijing

8-22 March 2013

The evening of March 10, ‘The Future of the Novel’ conference topic was discussed by an exciting panel of international authors. They keynote speaker for this event is Li Er, and the panel discussion will include AD Miller and Zhu Wen. On March 16 ‘Style v Content’ was addressed by Keynote speaker Sophie Cooke, with an accompanying panel discussion with Keith Gray and Zhang Yueran.

Both events took place at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing.

Bookworm Festival website



Scottish Government EU Office, Brussels

21 March 2013

The theme of this EWWC event was ‘A National Literature’ with the Keynote speakers announced as Rachida Lamrabet (Moroccan-Belgian) and Kapka Kassabova (born in Bulgaria, lives in Scotland). On the panel will be authors Stella Duffy, Christopher Meredith, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn and Arthur Riordan. Event Chair is Roland Gulliver.

This EWWC event was presented by the Scottish Government EU Office in association with the Northern Ireland Executive Office, the Welsh Government and the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the EU.

The event took place at the Goethe Institute, Brussels from 18:30 to 20:30 UTC+1.



NGC Bocas Lit Fest

27-28 April 2013

The EWWC is at the Bocas Lit Fest this year, where there were two conference panels. ‘A National Literature’ , which took place on Saturday 27 April, discussed by Keynote speaker Marlon James along with panelists Irvine Welsh, Hannah Lowe and Vahni Capildeo. The event was moderated by Marina Warner.’ Should Literature Be Political?’ was discussed on Sunday 28 April by Keynote speaker Olive Senior and panelists Pankaj Mishra, Earl Lovelace and Courttia Newland. This event was moderated by Ifeona Fulani. Both events took place at 11am local time.

Bocas Festival website



Etonnants Voyageurs

18-20 May 2013

EWWC themes are the central focus for this year’s Etonnants Voyageurs festival, after having been highlighted at Etonnants Voyageurs, Brazzaville (Congo) this past February. Keynote speakers included Boualem Sansal (Censorship Today); Velibor Colic (A National Literature); Hubert Haddad (Style vs Content); and Michel Le Bris (The Future of the Novel).

Participants for the various events include: Björn Larsson, Jean Rouaud, Percival Everett, Vassilis Alexakis, Léonora Miano, Maryse Condé, Serge Bramly, Mathias Enard, Paolo Rumiz, Dimitris Stefanakis, David Vann, Nick Stone, Yahia Belaskri, Niq Mhlongo, Damon Galgut, Arnaldur Indridason, Justin Cronin, Gaspard-Marie Janvier, Kgebetli Moele, Murray Bail, Patrick Deville, Kenneth White, Yanick Lahens, Azouz Begag, Yann Queffelec, Ben Fountain, Scholastique Mukasonga, Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès, Jean-Paul Kauffmann, Kim Thuy, Sefi Atta, John Connolly, Diana Evans, Holly Goddard Jones, Kopano Matlwa, Pinar Selek, Clément Caliari, Ariane Dreyfus, Olivier Weber, Lyonel Trouillot, Alain Mabanckou, Sami Tchak, Helon Habila, Insa Sane, Janis Otsiemi, Henry Kenol, Ian MacDonald, Geneviève Damas, Elliot Perlman, Gilles Lapouge, Patrick Rambaud, Gary Victor, Henri Lopes, Mbarek Beyrouk, Sorj Chalandon, Serge Bramly, Didier Decoin, Anne Nivat, Pete Fromm, Maylis De Kerangal, Jean Teule, Noo Saro-Wiwa, Mark Behr, Deon Meyer, Hakan Günday, Bernard Chambaz, Ayerdhal, Jonas T. Bengtsson, Jérôme Ferrari, Uwem Akpan, Tobie Nathan, Bruce Clarke.

Etonnants Voyageurs website



Lisbon Book Fair

25 May 2013

The British Council Portugal, European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) and APEL (Association of Editors and Publishers in Portugal) presented The Edinburgh World Writers Conference in Lisbon on 25 May 2013. Two conference themes were debated. In the first, Portuguese author José Rodrigues dos Santos – joined by Rute Pinheiro Coelho – presented the debate on ‘Should Literature be Political?’. The second theme, ‘The Future of the Novel’, was presented by Scottish writer Denise Mina, who was joined by Mathias Enard, Rosa Liksom, Dulce Maria Cardoso and João Tordo .

Portuguese and international writers were invited to be part of a live audience at the Lisbon Book Fair auditorium. The sessions were streamed live on and on British Council Portugal website and on  at 4pm WEST and running until 8pm WEST.



#Word: The Cooler Lumpur Festival

21-23 June 2013

Summer 2013 marked the inaugural edition of #Word, Malaysia’s first – and only – celebration of the written word in all its forms. From literature to journalism, from film to music, the festival aims to engage the producers and purveyors of words – be they written, spoken, or performed – and connect them with the public at large. #Word also played host to the Southeast Asian segment of the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference on 22-23 June with three special panels that addressed the questions ‘Censorship Today‘, ‘A National Literature‘ and ‘Should Literature Be Political?’. The events took place at MAP@Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur.



Edinburgh International Book Festival

17 August 2013

A year ago, the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference kicked off here with five events recalling the seminal Writers’ Conference of 1962. Since then, authors have been discussing the vital role the novel plays in cultural life, at events in 14 locations around the globe. What can we learn from the discussions? China Miéville, Hari Kunzru and Sema Kaygusuz talked about the future of fiction in an event chaired by Susie Nicklin.



Melbourne Writers Festival

23 August – 1 September 2013

In Australia, five EWWC events took place on August 23 as part of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival 2013. Since 1986, the Festival has been a cornerstone of the city’s literary culture, featuring an enormous range of literary activities and hundreds of guests from around the world and across the country. ‘Censorship Today’ was discussed by Larissa Behrendt and John Burnside; ‘The Future of the Novel’ was discussed by Teju Cole and Christy Dena; ‘Style vs Content’ was addressed by Kirsty Gunn and Margo Lanagan; ‘Can Literature Be Political’ was explored by Amanda Lohrey and Junot Diaz; and ‘A National Literature?’ was addressed by Tony Birch and MJ Hyland.

Melbourne Writers Festival website