1. Speak Easy
(Once a month from January onwards)

We began the year as we meant to go on, with a monthly spoken word event for young people at and in partnership with Nottingham Playhouse and Writing East Midlands. The brains behind Speak Easy are Connor Brown and Abi Hutchison who both sit on our Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature Youth Board. These popular events will be back in 2024 too!

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2. Young Voices Symposium
(8 February 2023)

In February 2023 we ran an event aimed at exploring best practice and ideas for empowering youth voice. This included looking at; including young people on boards, involving young people in evaluation, encouraging youth voice through journalism and how cities can embed youth voice in the fabric of its culture. 

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3. Authors Day – Young Voices Amplified
(24 February 2023)

Taking inspiration from the Knowledge is Power exhibition in the Weston Gallery, this series of school workshops for Year 9 students asked the question ‘What do we want to change?’. Three professional writers (Jim Hall, Manjit Sahota and Darren Simpson) led a range of workshops which empowered young people through creative writing.

4. We Became An Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation
(April 2023)

While this might sound boring and internal, it was a really really important moment for us this year when the Arts Council added us to its National Portfolio. What this means is that we have three years of guaranteed funding for a range of really exciting projects we want to deliver. It was also the culmination of a lot of work for a small number of people, who we remain ever thankful to.

5. Page Against The Machine
(27 May 2023)

As part of the amazing Nottingham Poetry Festival, we took over the picturesque garden at Bromley House Library with a simple aim. We invited readers of all ages and from all backgrounds to pick up a book, turn off their phones and settle in for a well-deserved detox read in a beautiful location in their city! We’re glad to say that many many of you did just that.

6. Story Valley
(May 2023)

Story Valley is a European project where students come together from different backgrounds and cultures to practise their language and to learn about different cultures. In May Story Valley partners from Edinburgh, Leeuwarden and Ljubljana came to Nottingham, for four days of project planning, presentations, sightseeing and story sharing. 

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7. International Youth Day celebration
(11 and 12 August 2023)

We celebrated International Youth Day with a two-day event at Nottingham’s lovely Waterstone book store, which was curated by the Nottingham City of Literature Youth Board. Our Friday event focused on exploring potential careers for young people in the arts sector. Our Saturday event had a more hands-on ‘Get Creative’ theme. Both events took place in the Sillitoe Room and we’re sure Sir Alan was up there somewhere smiling down. Part of the celebration included spotlighting the great work our sister UNESCO Cities of Literature do with young people.

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8. Edmund de Waal Gives Our Annual Lecture
(24 October 2023)

After a few years on hiatus, this year we reinstated our  Annual Nottingham City of Literature Lecture. Our guest was the internationally-acclaimed Edmund de Waal. Despite the Dutch surname, Edmund was actually born in Nottingham and is well known for both his large-scale porcelain installations and his award-winning family memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes. His talk in the grand surrounds of Nottingham Castle will be remembered fondly by all who attended.

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9. Slamovision
(6 October and 5 December)

It’s like the Eurovision but for slam poetry! We hosted our regional heats in October at Nonsuch, which was won by Annie Cross. Then in December we hosted the Slamovision Grand Finale at Metronome supported by NTU Curated and Created for the second year in a row in December, thanks to our incredible Nottingham Champions Abíọ́dún ‘Abbey’ Abdul and Cara Thompson, who wowed the international judges with their poems in 2022 and 2021. Alas, Manchester wrestled our title away from us this year. But we’ll be back!

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10. New Cities Join Our UNESCO Literature Network
(31 October)

On World Cities Day, 11 new cities joined the UNESCO Cities of Literature network. Those cities are; Bremen (Germany), Buffalo City (South Africa), Hobart (Australia), Iasi (Romania), Kozhikode (India), Kutaisi (Georgia), Lyon (France), Okayama City (Japan), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Taif (Saudi Arabia) and Tukums (Latvia). A warm welcome to them all from us!

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11. Our Stories
(Sat 25 November)

Our Stories was an event celebrating LGBTQ+ inclusive children’s and Young Adult books. Our event followed hot on the heels of  events in Manchester and Dublin Cities of Literature, and focused on comics and graphic novels. It took place at the new Nottingham Central Library, a whole two days before the public opening.

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12. Nottingham Central Library Opened
(28 November 2023 onwards)

Last, but the polar opposite of least. Yes, it was a moment we’d been waiting for and it didn’t disappoint. After many years without a library in its city centre Nottingham now has a state of the art three-floor, beautifully spacious and well -appointed central library. If you haven’t seen it yet you won’t be disappointed.

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