UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature use creativity and culture to promote the social, economic and cultural development of their cities. In these times of global uncertainty, the network continues to connect literary communities across the world, forging bonds through the power of books, words and ideas. On 5 December 2023, 12 UNESCO Cities of Literature put forward their finest slam poet to represent them in the Slamovision Grand Finale. The worldwide competition has been running for 5 years.

The SlamOVision 2023 Winner, Esther Koch

The 2023 champion, Esther Koch has brought the Slamovision crown back to Manchester, UK, winning the competition for Manchester City of Literature for the second time after 2020, with her impressive performance. Esther is a slam-winning spoken-word and page poet. She is a BBC Radio1 Xtra Words First finalist and is published in Own It! London’s accompanying anthology Use Word’s First. With her words, she closed the Team GB homecoming ceremony at Wembley Stadium in 2021. Esther has produced work for multiple festivals and has also produced educational content for BBC Bitesize. She recently produced a collection entitled ‘Hoarfrost On Our Lips’ which was exhibited alongside artwork at Manchester gallery Paradise Works.

Taurean at the Night Club by Esther Koch

Nottingham City of Literature partnered again with Nottingham Trent University’s WRAP (Writing Reading and Pleasure) programme to host Slamovision in Nottingham, UK for the second time. This was the largest Slamovision to date, and arguably the most competitive yet. Each finalist had already got through at least one local heat and delivered their best performance to compete for the coveted title of champion.

Twelve Cities of Literature participated in Slamovision 2023: Dublin (Ireland), Exeter (UK), Iowa City (US), Kuhmo (Finland), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Manchester (UK), Melbourne (Australia), Nottingham (UK), Québec City (Canada), Reykjavik (Iceland), Tartu (Estonia), and Vilnius (Lithuania).

The SlamOVision 2023 finalists

Ivan Wadeson, Director, Manchester City of Literature said:

“Manchester City of Literature is delighted that Poet Esther Koch has brought the Slamovision crown home to our city that truly has poetry at its heart! It’s been an excellent few weeks sharing performances from twelve cities around the world, and we’re so proud of everyone who took part for showcasing spoken word as an artform on a global stage. Manchester last won Slamovision in 2020 and we already can’t wait to host the 2024 event next year.”

Hannah Trevarthen, Director, Nottingham City of Literature said:

“Congratulations Esther Koch and Manchester City of Literature on being this year’s winners! We were thrilled to be champions for two years and share the breadth and depth of talent from our city with the world. Thank you to Nottingham Trent University for their partnership and helping us to celebrate and champion international poetry and the Cities of Literature network.”

Becky Cullen, NTU WRAP Director said:

“We are delighted to have worked with Nottingham City of Literature to create this international celebration of poetry for the second year in a row. It is wonderful to see the university and city come together to welcome our international guests in person and online.”


Notes for Editors

To learn more and see all Slamovision Contestants, please visit: https://cityofliterature.com.au/slam-o-vision/

About the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)

Established in 2004, the UCCN aims to foster collaboration among cities that recognise creativity as a crucial element in achieving sustainable urban development. Nearly 300 cities worldwide are part of this network, united in their pursuit of a shared goal: integrating creativity and cultural industries into their local development strategies while actively cooperating on the global stage. The Network encompasses seven diverse creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music. 53 UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature from 39 countries are currently members of the Network, diligently working together to harness the transformative power of literature in fostering sustainable and inclusive societies.

For more information on the UCCN, please visit: https://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/home

To learn more about the UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature Network: https://www.citiesoflit.com/

The Cities of Literature press pack is here

Enquiries to

Nottingham City of Literature: contactus@nottmcityoflit.org
Manchester City of Literature: Jo Flynn, Partnerships & Communications Manager, jo.flynn@manchester.gov.uk

UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature Network Lead

John Kenyon: john-kenyon@iowacityofliterature.org