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About UNESCO Cities of Literature

What is UNESCO?

It’s the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, set up in 1945 to ‘Build peace in the minds of men and women’. It encourages people to work together not just economically or politically, but on scientific, creative and cultural levels. These it sees are the ‘basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity’.

What is a UNESCO City of Literature?

It’s one that can demonstrate:

  • Quality, quantity and diversity of editorial initiatives and publishing houses
  • Quality and quantity of educational programmes focusing on domestic or foreign literature in primary and secondary schools as well as universities
  • Urban environment in which literature, drama and/or poetry play an integral role
  • Experience in hosting literary events and festivals aiming at promoting domestic and foreign literature
  • Libraries, bookstores and public or private cultural centres dedicated to the preservation, promotion and dissemination of domestic and foreign literature
  • Active effort by the publishing sector to translate literary works from diverse national languages and foreign literature
  • Active involvement of media, including new media, in promoting literature and strengthening the market for literary products

What benefits does it bring?

UNESCO hasn’t dropped a huge cheque into our lap. It’s what we do with the title that makes the difference. It recognises Nottingham as a city that swells with talent. It brings us investment, tourism, students to the universities and lots more. It tells the world what we already know, but those not from Nottingham may not: we are creatively excellent.

Where are the other Cities of Literature?

Being a City of Literature is a permanent designation, like a World Heritage site… we’re like the Pyramids and the Giant’s Causeway, and sharing the accolade with all these great cities:

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