Cairo leg of Edinburgh World Writers Conference cancelled

The Cairo leg of the Edinburgh World Writers Conference has been cancelled due to the violent unrest in the city.

Clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi have left five people dead and 644 injured.

A British Council spokesperson said safety concerns were behind the cancellation of the event, due to take place on the 7th and 8th December in partnership with the University of Cairo, Diwan Bookstore and the General Egyptian Book Council. Novelist Maggie Gee and poet Aonghas MacNeacail from the UK had been scheduled to take part alongside Egyptian poet Tamim al Barghouti and writer and translator Sahar el Mougy. Perhaps ironically, Tamim al Barghouti's planned talk was on the question, "Should literature be political?"

The British Council spokesperson said he hoped the event had been postponed rather than cancelled outright.  

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 14 countries around the world: Germany, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Egypt, India, China, Turkey, Belgium, Trinidad, Portugal, France, Malaysia and Australia.