Krakow named a UNESCO City of Literature

Krakow, Poland, was named today as the seventh UNESCO City of Literature in the world. The announcement was one of four made today as the Creative Cities Network grows to 38 members.

Other cities announced were Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, as a City of Music; Zahlé, Lebanon, as a City of Gastronomy; and Fabriano, Italy, as a City of Crafts and Folk Arts. The announcements were made by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

As a result of those new appointments, the Creative Cities Network now comprises 38 cities from all regions of the world. Additional cities are expected to be designated before the end of the year. A call for applications will be launched by the end of October, in view of 2014 nominations.

Krakow joins Edinburgh, Scotland; Melbourne, Australia; Iowa City; Dublin, Ireland; Reykjavík, Iceland; and Norwich, England, as a City of Literature.

John Kenyon, executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, said Krakow was a welcome addition to the network.

“I had the pleasure of traveling to Krakow last year, and what I found was a vibrant literary city that celebrates deep heritage and enormous potential,” he said.

Robert Piakowski, coordinator of Krakow UNESCO City of Literature, said the city looks forward to playing an active role in the network.“We think of this newly acquired title as a commitment to the vibrant literary community across the city and we embrace the opportunity to share the best Krakow has to offer with cultural hubs around the world,” he said.

Among many reasons for Krakow’s designation, the city holds two large literary festivals – an annual Conrad Festival and a biennial Milosz Festival – and hosts an annual Book Fair which attracts more than 35,000 visitors. It was here that Czesław Miłosz (awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980) returned after many years in exile, and it was the home of Wisława Szymborska (Nobel Prize in 1996) throughout her long life until her passing in 2012.

See Krakow’s full application here.

For more about Krakow, view this video, A View of Krakow: Krakow UNESCO City of Literature. “View of Krakow” is a part of the City (W)Wites international literary and film project which presents the literary capitals of Europe through meetings with writers connected with these cities. The role of the ambassador of Krakow and Malopolska region is played by Adam Zagajewski, who introduces the audience to his masters, favourite places and his friends among authors. There will also be reminiscences of other outstanding authors connected with the city: Wisława Szymborska and Czesław Miłosz. Participants of the 3rd Czesław Milosz Festival were the first to watch this film.

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