Prague is a part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and has been named a UNESCO Creative City of Literature since 2014.
Prague has been awarded the prestigious UNESCO City of Literature title, which UNESCO grants to cities of the world for the special place literature occupies in their life. Only seven cities have become recipients of this designation since 2004, when the title was first awarded. They were Edinburgh (UK), Melbourne (Australia), Iowa City (USA), Dublin (Ireland), Reykjavik (Iceland), Norwich (UK) and Krakow (Poland). Entering Prague in the list of the cities holding the distinguished City of Literature title means admitting Prague into the elite company of the Cities of Literature of the world.
In December 2015 UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, announced the designation of 8 cities as new members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network: Baghdad (Iraq), Barcelona (Spain), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Lviv (Ukraine), Montevideo (Uruguay), Óbidos (Portugal), Tartu (Estonia), Ulyanovsk (Russian Federation) and Nottingham (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). The UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature Network has grown up to the current 20 members.
This initiative indeed came from the institutions and individual representatives of Prague literary life. Today, over 30 largest Prague literary organisations are taking part in this programme, which has turned into a large-scale international project. Now the initiative facilitates more effective coordination and planning of joint actions in order to share experiences and support each other.
Literature as an essential part in the city’s life
The project has become a historical platform for the cooperation of authors, publishers, literary critics, librarians and other participants in Prague literary life. A city designated as Creative City of Literature must have a sufficient number of institutions taking care of high level of its literary life and promoting literature. Literature is supposed to play an essential part in the city’s life and be given a significant support. The city should have ability and experience to organise different kinds of literary events, as well as the appropriate level of literary education should be provided along with quality, quantity and diversity of literaty activities.
The project’s initiators are Czech Centres and the Municipal Library of Pragueproject was supported in 2010 by the Prague City Council resolution. The Municipal Library of Prague was appointed project coordinator. The project currently involvesmore than 30 partners, who are engaged in various aspects of books and literature – copyright associations and unions, editors, publishers, libraries, trade fairs, festivals, literary awards and literary newspaper.
source: UNESCO, map of some selected creative cities
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