Our Story

Once upon a time...
In 2013-2014, a group of Nottingham writers realised we had a great depth of literary talent here, historic and contemporary, but it was not celebrated in any meaningful way. It was also noted that while we have such talent rife in the city, we also suffer from poor literacy rates and educational outcomes. Surely there was a way to use the former to address the latter?

As such, a coalition of writers, both universities, Nottingham City Council and other organisations and individuals decided to initiate a bid to join UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network as an official UNESCO City of Literature. You can read how the process developed here.

Since being awarded the accreditation in December 2015, we have worked to show how words are for all, and to ensure we offer chances and opportunities to every single person in the city and wider county. This has been done through delivering a series of literary projects, both ran by ourselves or in partnership with other organisations, with a particular focus on young people and those with reduced access to cultural and educational opportunities.

In April 2023, we became a Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation, giving us guaranteed funding for a exciting suite of projects to be delivered over the next three years: watch this space!

Our Mission

As a UNESCO City of Literature, our mission is to build a better world with words. Our permanent designation as a UNESCO Creative City enables us to use the power of words to transform lives, create new opportunities and establish Nottingham as a leading destination for lovers of literature worldwide.