Norwich and Nottingham to host UNESCO Cities of Literature gathering

Norwich and Nottingham to host UNESCO Cities of Literature gathering

Cultural leaders from 28 countries will come to the UK in May 2019 for a global gathering of the UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Norwich and Nottingham, two of the UK’s four Cities of Literature, have been successful in a joint bid to host the week-long programme of cultural events. It will be the first time that the international forum has taken place in England. 

The two-stage gathering - Nottwich 2019 - will bring together writers and practitioners from across the world and act as a catalyst for future artistic collaboration.

Representatives from the UNESCO Cities of Design, Film, Music and Media Arts will be involved in the planning to ensure a cross art-form opportunity for creative exchange.

Chris Gribble, c.e.o. of Writers’ Centre Norwich, said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to showcase Norwich and Nottingham as centres of literary excellence. This global gathering will send a unified message on the importance of collaboration, dialogue and creative partnership. We hope that this forum will inspire many more exciting artistic projects and international exchanges. The celebration will form part of our year-long programme of activity - starting in summer 2018 - to mark our opening as the National Centre for Writing in England’s first UNESCO City of Literature.”

Sandeep Mahal, director, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, said: “Nottwich 2019 is a wonderful opportunity to show the rest of the world the things that make Nottingham and Norwich UNESCO Cities of Literature. The fact that both our cities will be visited by delegates from so many countries is not only an opportunity to get to know each other better and to exchange best practices, but also to highlight the importance of knowledge and creativity as a driving force for the growth of modern cities”. 

The UNESCO Cities of Literature network boasts a combined population of over 26 million and includes 1250 libraries, 130 literary festivals and over 1200 bookshops. Nottwich 2019 will "deepen strategic and practical integration between the UNESCO Cities of Literature and raise awareness of the cultural and economic impact of the network", said the organisers. 

The UK’s Creative Cities generate an estimated £2.4m a year through association with UNESCO. 28 cities have been awarded the status of City of Literature to date, from Baghdad and Barcelona to Melbourne and Milan. The programme for Nottwich 2019 will be announced later in the year.