The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Manchester named UNESCO City of Literature

Manchester follows in the proud footsteps of Dublin, Baghdad, Barcelona and Reykjavik

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Manchester has been successful in its bid to become part of UNESCO’s worldwide Creative Cities network as a UNESCO City of Literature. Our city, will join Dublin, Baghdad, Barcelona and Reykjavik, and many others in the global network. The bid was endorsed by the Royal Society of Literature and the English Association.

It was successfully coordinated by many people from The University of Manchester, including Dr Jerome De Groot, Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Literature, Chair of Manchester Literature Festival; Manchester Metropolitan University, including Carol Anne Duffy DBE, Professor of Contemporary Poetry; Manchester Literature Festival, Manchester City Council, and a powerhouse of artists, writers and publishers.

Manchester has a colourful and thriving literary scene, being the home to three historical libraries: The Portico, John Rylands and Chetham’s libraries.

It is home to prolific publishers Carnacet and Comma Press, and authors such as Burgess and Gaskell. The city also has an unmatched live literature scene, with numerous spoken word initiatives being pursued, book launches, author talks, and festivals such as The Manchester Literature Festival, where we extend invitations to numerous critically acclaimed authors, year upon year.

The creative writing community and our two outstanding schools: The University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing and the MMU’s Manchester Writing School have contributed immeasurably to keeping the buzz of literary creativity alive.

Following the appointment of the new Manchester City of Literature status, plans to promote collaboration within the local and global literary community have been drawn up. The bid’s committee have proposed plans for a new writer’s hub and outreach initiatives to support writing.

Jeanette Winterson, Professor of Creative Writing at the Centre for New Writing says:

“Manchester has always transformed things…it has energy that nowhere else in the British Isles has and it brings that to its creativity…If ever there is a place that is the city of the future, it’s Manchester. This is a city that’s got heritage, it’s got the past, but also the future — why would you want to live anywhere else when you could live in this exciting present. This is the right city, at the right time (to be) a UNESCO heritage city”

Manchester is a thriving hub of innovative writing and creativity, and this new status will only serve to strengthen this already, very radically rich culture.