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UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature mobilise to celebrate the first edition of World Novel Week

UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature mobilise to celebrate the first edition of World Novel Week

Thu, 10/13/2022

From 13 October 2022, UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature across the globe will come together to mark the very first edition of World Novel Week. This worldwide celebration of novels, creative writing and reading aims to encourage the appreciation of literature as an expression of human creativity and raise awareness on its uniting power in enhancing knowledge-sharing, cultural diversity and international cultural exchange.


On this occasion, UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature are hosting a diverse range of literary initiatives, from book festivals and fairs to workshops and conferences, showcasing the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)’s mission by leveraging literature as a tool for promoting culture, intercultural dialogue, and social cohesion.


Creative Cities bridging literature, cultural heritage and communities through digital technologies


To celebrate World Novel Week, Creative Cities of Literature are tapping into the creative possibilities opened up by the shift to digital literary forms, such as e-books, digital archives and electronic literature.


Manchester’s highly regarded Literature Festival, expected to gather over 2,000 participants from 7 to 23 October, will offer a digital celebration of the importance of novels alongside a host of live events. Gathering together leading novelists, academics and activists, the Festival’s digital programme will provide online access to events, showcasing contemporary writing covering topics from the contemporary city, to emerging women writers, and many more that reflect Manchester as a truly international cultural hub.


Dublin, a UNESCO Creative City of Literature since 2010, will be organising a one-day symposium entitled ‘Literary Dublin in the Digital Archive’ on 13 October. An impressive array of multidisciplinary experts will be delving into the digital archives of the Digital Repository of Ireland to unlock its literary treasures and source inspiring materials for writers. Through a variety of panels, this event will provide a unique opportunity for creatives to assess a broad range of digital literary collections, as well as explore their potential to build literary-themed repositories and narratives around Dublin’s rich creative heritage.


Similarly, Jakarta will be tackling important digital literacy challenges at the urban scale by coordinating a series of workshops from 1 to 31 October. These events will aim to equip novelists and emerging talents with a forum to hone creative writing skills and master the intricacies of e-book publishing. Contributing to Jakarta’s vibrant publishing industry, participants’ books will be curated and registered as a collection of the Jakarta Digital Library (or iJakarta), allowing the city to reinforce its robust publishing sector.


Creative Cities showcasing literature as a powerful social tool for cultural diversity


Initiatives undertaken by UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature will also take advantage of World Novel Week to broaden access to a wide range of novels and showcase literature as a catalyst for cultural diversity and dialogue.


In line with UNESCO’s Global Priority Africa and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), Edinburgh will organize events as part of Black History Month with the aim of honouring and celebrating black authors and their contributions to Scottish and world literature. Notably, the city will be partnering with author, poet, and founder of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association Lisa Williams in an effort to shed light on the artistry of Black storytelling and strengthen its commitment to literary diversity and inclusion.


In the same vein, Quebec’s ‘Festival en toutes lettres' running from 13 to 23 October, will be inaugurated with ‘Window on Haiti’, a musical reading of excerpts from Rodney Saint-Éloi’s When it's sad Bertha sings, with the aim of celebrating the contribution of creators of Haitian origin to contemporary literature.


Creative Cities promoting creative thinking and imagination through local and international artists


Vilnius City of Literature will be celebrating World Novel Week by commemorating the centenary literary legacy of Irish author James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’, by hosting a series of readings to promote the appreciation of literature as part of the ULYSSES European Odyssey (EUO).  This project across 18 cities in 16 countries aims at producing artistic responses to Joyce’s literary legacy.


In Heidelberg, a lecture featuring bestselling Spanish author Fernando Aramburu’s Patria will be held in the company of his translator Willi Zurbrüggen. Taking place on 18 October, this event will offer a forum for discussing Spanish history and the challenges inherent in international literary transmissions.


Dunedin’s vibrant writing sector will also be showcased from 13 to 20 October through the work of New Zealand author Laurence Fearnley and her award-winning Winter Time, a novel drawing inspiration from Mackenzie Country in the South Island and casting the land as the dominant character, raising awareness on Sustainable Development Goal 15 Life on Land.



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