UNESCO names 11 new Cities of Literature to network

UNESCO has announced the designation of 55 new members across seven artforms to join its Creative Cities Network, for a total of 350 Creative Cities from more than 100 countries worldwide.

Among these new Creative Cities, 11 have been designated as Cities of Literature, joining Iowa City and the other 41 cities in the literature cluster, which grows to 53 members across 39 countries with the additions. These new cities are: Bremen (Germany); Buffalo City (South Africa); Hobart (Australia); Iasi (Romania); Kozhikode (India); Kutaisi (Georgia); Okayama City (Japan); Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); Taif (Saudi Arabia); and Tukums (Latvia). Lyon (France), has been reclassified from Media Arts to Literature.

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague welcomed the new cities to the network.

“We know we benefit as a city as the network adds to its diversity, and we look forward to learning more about these new cities and sharing more about Iowa City and what makes us such a special place for writing and literature,” he said.

John Kenyon, Executive Director, Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature and Coordinator of the Cities of Literature subnetwork, said the new cities would add to the benefits of the network for Iowa City.

“The Cities of Literature have been working to diversify our network, and we are pleased to welcome so many cities from under-represented parts of the world,” he said. “We are made stronger as we add new native languages, cultures, and perspectives to our family of cities, and look forward to working with the writers, editors, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and others in the literary sector of these new members.”

Click here for a list of all 55 cities named to the network across the seven disciplines.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was created by UNESCO in 2004. It recognizes Cities with strong heritage and culture in one of seven different areas: Craft and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music. It encourages these cities to leverage that creativity to work toward achieving the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Iowa City was designated as the third City of Literature in the world in 2008. The Creative Cities Network includes nine cities from the United States.