Culture, Manchester

Manchester awarded prestigious UNESCO City of Literature status

0 66

By Lexi Bickell


Manchester has been awarded City of Literature status by UNESCO and will join a global network of 27 other cities across six continents, each awarded the acclaimed title.

Manchester pioneered free libraries in the 1800s, with Chetham Library being the oldest in the English speaking world, and the city has built on this tradition of valuing literature ever since.

Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate and Creative Director of Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan, said: “I’m so pleased that Manchester has been recognised as an international city of literature. We have a proud history of working together to find new voices and support and celebrate new writing. Ours is a city where literature is loved. I’m excited about the opportunities this recognition will bring.”

Currently Manchester, perhaps unsurprisingly, has a thriving literary scene, with frequent events, open lectures, open mics nights and more, including Bad Language and Verbose, and festivals, such as the Manchester Children’s Book Festival and Manchester Literature Festival, which engage with thousands of families each year.

Two successful indie publishers are also based in the city, Comma Press, which specialises in short stories, and Carcanet which publishes poetry.

Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate and Director of the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met.

Manchester’s bid for the title was backed by the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and organisations across the city, as well as by the Royal Society of Literature and the English Association. A programme of events will now be planned and delivered across Manchester to celebrate the award including, according to The Bookseller, “a libraries festival, the establishment of a new writer’s hub and far-reaching initiatives to support new writing.”

It is hoped that being a UNESCO City of Literature will encourage even more people to get involved in reading and writing and to foster international literary projects and relationships.

Nicolas Royle, Reader in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, neatly summed up the meaning of the award to the city in an article for The Guardian. He stated that while Manchester is already “a city for readers and writers… With this award, life for book people in Manchester can only get better.”

About the author / 

Lexi Bickell

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Manchester welcomes in students affected by Bolton fire with accommodation and funding

    By Pruthvi Khilosia Manchester has opened its heart to neighbouring town Bolton after a fire broke out on Friday 15th of November in The Cube, a six-storey block of flats home to students from Bolton University. Reports claim the fire started as a result of the cladding used in the building. Mayor Andy Burnham featured…

  • Theatre Review: The Marriage of Kim K @ The Lowry

    By Elena Richards Coldicutt Photography: Mark Russell If you get your kicks watching Keeping up with the Kardashians (seek help) or have ever wanted to go to the opera but fear you’ll nod off due to multilingual ineptitude, then this is one for you. Award-winning and critically acclaimed Leo & Hyde’s ‘The Marriage of Kim…

  • Live Review: The Mysterines, Demob Happy + The Amazons @ Academy 1

    By Camilla Whitfield Whether it was the raw energy radiating from each band or the spirit from the audience culminating together at Manchester Academy 1, this gig was an experience which drew you in from the beginning. From opening act The Mysterines setting the ball rolling with their attitude fuelled and raucous set, to Demob…

  • The People’s Poetry Lectures: Moira Egan on Marianne Moore

    By Sammy Weaver Moira Egan’s lecture on one of America’s most celebrated poets, Marianne Moore, proved how The People’s Poetry Lectures allow poets to passionately talk about others that have inspired them and shows how difficult work such as Moore’s can be given fresh understanding to a wide audience.  Former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy…