As the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, Edinburgh is pleased to welcome eight new cities from eight countries to its literary family today.

Bucheon (Republic of Korea)      Milan (Italy)

Durban (South Africa)                  Québec City (Canada)

Lillehammer (Norway)                 Seattle (USA)

Manchester (UK)                           Utrecht (Netherlands)

The announcement made today by UNESCO confirming the designation of these eight cities takes the Cities of Literature network to a total of 28. The network has grown rapidly since 2004 when an Edinburgh delegation travelled to UNESCO’s Paris headquarters to present the city’s submission. Edinburgh was designated the same day, becoming the founding city of the Creative City Network and the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature

The Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust’s Director Ali Bowden commented:

“It’s incredible to see the network grow in reach and diversity. We now have a City of Literature network made up of 28 cities in 23 countries, spread across six continents. This brings together organisations all working in support of literature and we welcome these new cities and look forward to future collaborations.”

The eight new Cities of Literature are part of a wider appointment by UNESCO, who have just designated, in total, 64 new cities to the Creative Cities Network under the art forms of literature, design, crafts and folk art, film, music, gastronomy, and media arts. The network’s membership now stands at 180 cities.

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, today commented:

“These new designations showcase an enhanced diversity in city profiles and geographical balance, with 19 cities from countries not previously represented in the Network. The cooperation framework proposed to foster candidate cities from the Africa region – a UNESCO Global Priority – has been a true success with 9 African cities now joining the Network.”

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland commented:

“Edinburgh has been at the centre of the development of the Cities of Literature network since becoming its first designated city in 2004. We are proud of Edinburgh’s role in the growth of this network and how as a city, thanks to the work of our first-class writers and world-leading organisations, we have continued to uphold and embody the City of Literature status. We look forward to welcoming this eclectic and dynamic range of new cities to the network, learning from them and fostering links, creative projects and opportunities between us.”

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, commented:

“Through the City of Literature Trust, Edinburgh has used its designation as a catalyst for a host of new activity, from high profile citywide reading campaigns to one-day events honouring our famous authors. Over the years we have hosted international exchanges and local residencies, one-off conferences and monthly Literary Salons. We support our emerging writers and inscribe the words of our most famous authors on prominent city locations. Through this network, Edinburgh sits at the heart of so many languages and cultures, bringing us new opportunities for the future.”

Image courtesy of City of Literature/Chris-Scott