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Manchester joins global network of UNESCO Cities of Literature

(2 November 2017)

Manchester has been successful in its bid to join the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) worldwide Creative Cities network as a City of Literature. The city, which built the UK’s first public lending library and gave the world the work of great writers including Elizabeth Gaskell and Anthony Burgess, will join others including Baghdad, Dublin, Barcelona, Prague, Melbourne, and Reykjavik in the global network.

Manchester’s successful bid was coordinated by a consortium involving The University of Manchester, Manchester City Council, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Manchester Literature Festival, plus representatives of the city’s writers, publishers and literary organisations. The bid was endorsed by the Royal Society of Literature and the English Association.

A programme of cultural events and community writing projects will be developed to celebrate Manchester’s City of Literature status. The programme will encourage collaboration - both internationally and within the city’s literary arts community.

Manchester is home to the world-class Central Library, as well as three historic gems - The Portico, John Rylands, and Chetham's libraries, and boasts two of the country’s most highly regarded writing schools – The University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing and the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University – plus Manchester Literature Festival, one of the most innovative and popular literary events in the UK.

  • You can watch Professor of Creative Writing, Jeanette Winterson’s reaction to the news of Manchester’s successful bid on YouTube.

Prof John McAuliffe, Centre for New Writing, added: This is a cause for great celebration and will help us to strengthen our University’s many partnerships with the city and its communities. Our staff and student writers know that Manchester is a City of Literature, a place whose graduates include Anthony Burgess and the war poet Alun Lewis, Jeanette Winterson, Booker winner Barry Unsworth and bestseller Sophie Hannah.”

  • You can read the full story on StaffNet.