We will be screening the five keynote events at The Bookworm, August 20-24,2012 . Each event is free and open to the public. You can also continue the conversation online at the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference website, which will feature live broadcasts of the events in Edinburgh and videos of the international events.
Schedule of Events
Monday, August 20 12:30pm
Should Literature be Political?
Elif Shafak & Ahdaf Soueif
The 1962 Writers’ Conference organizers stated: ‘Many believe that the novelist has the duty to further by his writing the causes in which he believes. Others think that literature must be above the problems of the day.’ 50 years on, writers remain divided about the role political events should play in novels. Ahdaf Soueif, who witnessed last year’s revolutionary events in Cairo, addresses the conference in a session chaired by leading Turkish author Elif Shafak.
Tuesday, August 21 12:30pm
Style vs. Content
Ali Smith & Nathan Englander
What is more important: the content of a novel or the style in which it is written? Ali Smith’s novels successfully marry ambitious themes with a variety of confident linguistic styles – from the deliciously playful to the crashingly simple. Smith addresses today’s Conference session about approaches to the construction of the novel today, in an event chaired by Nathan Englander – whose short pieces have been described by Michael Chabon as ‘masterpieces of short-story art’.
Wednesday, August 22 12:30pm
A National Literature?
Irvine Welsh & Ian Rankin
Since the first Edinburgh Writers’ Conference in 1962, there has been a renaissance in Scottish literature, bringing the voices of Scottish people of different backgrounds into ground-breaking novels by writers such as James Kelman, Alasdair Gray, Janice Galloway and A L Kennedy among many others. Have there been similarly powerful developments in the ‘national literatures’ of other countries? In this session chaired by Ian Rankin, Irvine Welsh addresses the impact of national identity on the novel today.
Thursday, August 23 12:30pm
Patrick Ness & Chika Unigwe
Freedom of speech is not only under threat in undemocratic countries: the American Library Association received challenges to ban no fewer than 326 book titles in 2010, including And Tango Makes Three, which attracted complaints because its young penguin hero has two fathers. In this session, Carnegie Medal-winning writer of novels for adults and children, Patrick Ness, addresses the Conference about censorship and freedom of speech, chaired by Belgian-Nigerian author Chika Unigwe.
Friday, August 24 12:30pm
The Future of the Novel
China Mieville & Janne Teller
Has the dominant literary form of the 19th and 20th centuries grown stale? Is it no longer the best means of delivering stories in the 21st century? Or does the classic literary novel remain the form best placed to deliver innovative, memorable writing? Drawing on discussions about censorship, style, politics and identity, this session, bringing Edinburgh’s 2012 Conference to a close, offers an address by multi award-winning author, China Mieville with renowned author Janne Teller in the moderator’s chair.