UNESCO Creative Cities Network

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) is a project launched in 2004 by UNESCO to promote cooperation among cities which recognized creativity as a major factor in their urban development.

The cities approved have all met the required criteria set by UNESCO covering:

  • Quality, quantity and diversity of publishing in the city
  • Quality and quantity of educational programmes focusing on domestic or foreign literature at primary, secondary and tertiary levels
  • Literature, drama and/or poetry playing an important role in the city
  • Hosting literary events and festivals which promote domestic and foreign literature;
  • Existence of libraries, bookstores and public or private cultural centres which preserve, promote and disseminate domestic and foreign literature
  • Involvement by the publishing sector in translating literary works from diverse national languages and foreign literature
  • Active involvement of traditional and new media in promoting literature and strengthening the market for literary products.

Back in 2015, despite the The DH Lawrence Heritage Centre closing, Nottingham was still able to achieve UNESCO Creative Cities status. It still retains The D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum is in Eastwood. Nearby is also Newstead Abbey, ancestral home to the poet Lord Byron.

books on bookshelves
Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

UK Cities of Literature

  • Edinburgh, Scotland (2004)
  • Edinburgh is the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature.
  • It is the birthplace and home to world-famous writers, poets and playwrights including Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), Walter Scott (Waverley), and JK Rowling (Harry Potter). It has its own Poet Laureate, the Edinburgh Makar.
  • The Edinburgh International Book Festival is the world’s largest literary festival of its kind, lasting for two weeks each August.
  • Nottingham, England (2015)
  • Nottingham boasts a rich history of illustrious literary figures residing within its walls, such as Lord Byron, D.H. Lawrence, Stanley Middleton and Alan Sillitoe, to name but a few.
  • Manchester, England (2017)
  • Literature has been a force for change, innovation, openness and collaboration throughout the city’s history. It is where Engels and Marx worked together at Chetham’s Library and where Elizabeth Gaskell wrote her campaigning novels.

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