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Nottingham named official UNESCO City of Literature


Joe Jones

Nottingham has won its bid to be named as an official UNESCO City of Literature, becoming only the second city in the United Kingdom to be awarded the accolade.

The title, which could bring millions in tourist, student and grants revenue to Nottingham, was awarded based on the city's literary heritage, its diverse writing community and its commitment to improving literacy across the city. 

The announcement was made on Friday 11 December to Nottingham's City of Literature bid team, who have been working on their proposal to UNESCO since 2014. 

Those responsible for the bid had said that it would bring Nottingham’s literacy and creative enterprises, and other cultural and economic stakeholders even closer together.

It is also said to feed into programmes that provide a foundation for increased cultural tourism, improve literacy, encourage social cohesion and inclusivity, and support the wide range of creative businesses in and around Nottingham.

The partners involved in the bid were Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham, Bromley House Library, Nottingham Writers’ Studio, Creative Quarter, Nottingham Playhouse and Writing East Midlands. 

Some of Nottingham's finest wordsmiths include D.H. Lawrence, Lord Byron, and Alan Sillitoe.

Alongside Nottingham, the following cities were also named Cities of Literature this month: Baghdad, Barcelona, Ljubljana, Lviv, Montevideo, Tartu, Obidos and Ulyanovsk were named Cities of Literature. 

The aforementioned cities all join Dublin, Dunedin, Edinburgh, Granada, Heidelberg, Iowa City, Krakow, Melbourne, Norwich, Prague and Reykjavik on the exclusive list.

There was disappointment in Seattle, however, as their application to become a City of Literature was rejected.

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