Welsh and Rankin to debate national literature

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IRVINE Welsh and Ian Rankin are to debate the idea of a national literature as part of this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Trainspotting author Welsh will appear with Rebus scribe Rankin as part of the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference at the book festival.

They will be among 50 delegates from 25 different countries discussing and debating the role of fiction in society with a public audience.

Every day, from Friday 17 August to Tuesday 21 August, the conference will discuss a topic originally tabled at the seminal 1962 Edinburgh Writers’ Conference.

Other events include eminent Egyptian writer, Ahdaf Soueif asking Should Literature Be Political? in a session chaired by leading Turkish author, Elif Shafak, and, to close the conference, science fiction and fantasy writer China Miéville will address The Future of the Novel in a session chaired by Denmark’s Janne Teller.

Susie Nicklin, British 
Council Director of Literature, said: “In 1962 the British Council participated in the Writers’ Conference by bringing delegates from around the world to Edinburgh.

“It is fitting that in this Olympic year when we are co-convening a meeting of international culture, ministers in Edinburgh we should also be taking literary debate out to the world from the UK.

“We are looking forward to infusing the global conversation with the traditional wit and engagement of Edinburgh’s lively audiences.”