Edinburgh will host Unesco’s network of Literary Cities conference in 2024, marking 20 years since it became the first city to be awarded the title.
Representatives from more than 40 literary cities around the world will visit Edinburgh in October of that year to mark the achievements of the past two decades and plan for the future.
The title and concept of Literature City was coined in Edinburgh and the Scottish capital was designated by Unesco as the world’s first city in 2004.
There are now 42 Literature Cities in 32 countries on six continents, and by 2024 that number is predicted to grow to 45.
Edinburgh is also the founding city of Unesco’s network of Creative Cities, which includes seven different art forms.
Ali Bowden, director of the Edinburgh Unesco City Literary Commission, said: “At the heart of the City of Edinburgh Literature status is the idea of international collaboration and sharing.
“We look forward to welcoming representatives from literary cities around the world to Edinburgh, to showcase our beautiful city, its literary heritage and its thriving contemporary literary scene. I.
“We wanted to share ideas, celebrate the achievements of cities across the network, and inspire newly designated cities.
“We want to spark ideas for new forms of multi-art collaboration and new international projects to support writers and readers across the Creative Cities network.”
Other Unesco literary cities include Barcelona in Spain, Baghdad in Iraq, Durban in South Africa, Heidelberg in Germany, Odessa in Ukraine and Prague in the Czech Republic.
Edinburgh’s literary communities include national organizations such as the Scottish Book Trust, Publishing Scotland and the National Library of Scotland, while the city also hosts the Edinburgh International Book Festival each summer.
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The city has more than 45 bookstores and is home to writers including Ian Rankin and JK Rowling.
John Kenyon, president of Unesco’s Literary Cities network, said: “Edinburgh winning today’s bid to host the Unesco 2024 Literary Cities conference is a pivotal moment.
“Our network is indebted to Edinburgh for helping to create the name of the City of Literature and for their years of work to establish and grow the network.
“This will be an opportunity to remind the people of Edinburgh that they should be proud of their role in starting this incredible international network and the work it has achieved over the past 20 years.
“Conference coming to ‘home’ in Edinburgh in 2024 seems like a fitting way to celebrate the network’s 20th anniversary and a great spot to look to the future.”
Lord Provost Robert Aldridge of Edinburgh said: “The decision to bring this important conference to Edinburgh on the 20th anniversary of the founding of our capital as the first Unesco City of Literature underscores the importance of Edinburgh as a world famous literary center.
“This is an opportunity not only to celebrate our achievements, but also to share our experiences and explore future partnerships with other members of the Literary City network.”
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