Over the next year, the Edinburgh International Book Festival is attempting to kick off a global debate on five topics that “almost brought [UK] writers to blows during the infamous Writers’ Conference of 1962,” according to the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference website.

The  World Writers’ Conference will launch in Edinburgh mid-August with 50 Scottish and international writers (August 17-21, 2012). From there, it will head to a lucky thirteen countries: Australia, Belguim, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Trinidad and Turkey. It’s then set to return to the UK in 2013.

According to Reuters, Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif will kick the conference off — although apparently not in person — with the question: “Should Literature be Political?”

Authors will also debate censorship, the future of the novel, nationality and identity in the novel, and “style vs. content.” More about the debates.

The Edinburgh Book Festival is apparently the biggest in the world, and director Nick Barley “expected it to remain so,” the Reuters report said.

The World Writers’ Conference website didn’t have dates for the Egypt event(s) — maybe, by some lucky miracle, I will make it — but you can follow discussions on twitter at #worldwritersconf and sign up for updates here.

Also, the event is co-sponsored by the British Council, so perhaps we can expect updates here.

Thanks to Nada for the tip!