Cities of Literature

Not a Calvino book, but a designation by UNESCO. Aren’t they the ones that collect pennies at Halloween? Nevermind. What does it mean to become a city of literature? My guess is that there’s probably fewer seats at the coffee shop and the avocado toast is on seedy bread. But don’t listen to me, kids! Everyone’s got a book in them… Follow your dreams! (Spoiler: the destination is the welfare office.)

The nomination criteria for Cities of Literature include the quality, quantity, and diversity of editorial initiatives and publishing houses; the quality and quantity of educational programs focusing on domestic or foreign literature in schools, including universities; an urban environment in which literature plays an integral role; experience in hosting literary events and festivals promoting domestic and foreign literature; the existence of libraries, bookstores, and cultural centers that can promote and disseminate domestic and foreign literature; an active effort by the publishing sector to translate literary works; and involvement by the media, including new media, in promoting literature and strengthening the market. Cities of Literature nominated thus far have included Norwich, Edinburgh, Melbourne, Dublin, Iowa City, Reykjavik, Baghdad, Quebec City, and Krakow.

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