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Do you have what it takes to become a UNESCO City of Literature?

  • © Trustees of the National Library of Scotland

The following list of criteria and characteristics serves as a guide for cities interested in joining the network as a City of Literature:

  • Quality, quantity and diversity of editorial initiatives and publishing houses;
  • Quality and quantity of educational programmes focusing on domestic or foreign literature in primary and secondary schools as well as universities;
  • Urban environment in which literature, drama and/or poetry play an integral role;
  • Experience in hosting literary events and festivals aiming at promoting domestic and foreign literature; 
  • Libraries, bookstores and public or private cultural centres dedicated to the preservation, promotion and dissemination of domestic and foreign literature;
  • Active effort by the publishing sector to translate literary works from diverse national languages and foreign literature;
  • Active involvement of media, including new media, in promoting literature and strengthening the market for literary products.

Appointed cities:


  • 04-08-2011
Reykjavik designated as UNESCO Creative City
  • 27-07-2010
Dublin, Icheon, Östersund and Seoul designated as UNESCO Creative Cities
  • 19-11-2008
Iowa City and Shenzhen, designated as UNESCO Creative Cities
  • 28-08-2008
Melbourne joins Edinburgh as 2nd City of Literature