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Edinburgh Welcomes 11 New UNESCO Cities of Literature to Its Literary Family


Being the world’s inaugural UNESCO City of Literature, Edinburgh joyfully embraces the addition of eleven new Cities of Literature into its literary kin.

Today UNESCO has announced the designation of 55 new Cities in total across seven art forms to join its Creative Cities Network, making for a total of 350 Creative Cities from over 100 countries worldwide.

Among these new Creative Cities, eleven have been designated in literature and joined Edinburgh as UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature: Bremen (Germany); Buffalo (South Africa); Hobart (Australia); Iasi (Romania); Kozhikode (India); Kutaisi (Georgia); Okayama City (Japan); Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); Taif (Saudi Arabia); Tukums (Latvia) and Lyon (France).

There are now 53 designated Creative Cities of Literature from 39 countries across the globe.

“Through the City of Literature Trust, Edinburgh has used its designation as impetus for a host of new activity, from showcasing the work of our creatives in Edinburgh internationally to global writing residencies for our writers in the city. Over the years we have hosted international networking opportunities, one-off conferences and monthly Literary Salons, whilst supporting our literature professionals. With Edinburgh at the core of this network, this news furthers international scope and future opportunity.”

The Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Robert Aldridge

“We are delighted to expand our network of UNESCO Cities of Literature to include these creative new cities. An idea which took root in Edinburgh has now grown to a global scale and is an enlightened work of international collaboration. At Edinburgh City of Literature HQ, we look forward to diversifying the network to champion those that represent our literature sector.”

“The UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature extend a warm welcome to their new sibling Cities and look forward to collaborating to promote the power of literature for sustainable and inclusive societies”.

Chair of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, Gerald Richards

“The Cities of Literature have been working to diversify our network, and we are pleased to welcome so many cities from under-represented parts of the world. We are made stronger as we add new native languages, cultures, and perspectives to our family of cities, and look forward to working with the writers, editors, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and others in the literary sector of these new members.”

“The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created by UNESCO in 2004 with Edinburgh as the founding city. It gathers Cities that have positioned culture and creativity as strategic enablers for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Network recognises Cities from the seven creative fields of Craft and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music. Designated Creative Cities place creativity at the core of their development to enhance inclusivity, safety, and sustainability. 

“The Cities of Literature network has continued to grow and evolve since 2002, when Edinburgh worked with UNESCO to create the designation. In 2004, an Edinburgh delegation travelled to UNESCO’s Paris headquarters to present its submission. It was designated the same day, becoming the founding city of the Creative City Network and the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature. Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust looks forward to working with these newly designated cities to support readers and writers, champion freedom of speech and build international partnerships to benefit writing communities.”

John Kenyon, Executive Director, Iowa City UNESCO Creative City of Literature and Creative Cities of Literature Network Lead

“It is inspiring to welcome these creative cities to our ever-growing network. We are, as always, extremely proud of being the founding city of this international cohort of UNESCO Cities of Literature and look forward to working with the new cities in the years ahead, collaborating on projects that will allow us to celebrate the rich and vibrant literature sector that we have here in Edinburgh, and how it can impact on others across the globe.”

Cllr Val Walker, Culture and Communities Convener

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