Manchester

Manchester earns prestigious Unesco City of Literature status

Chetham Library Image copyright Anthony O'Neil Geograph
Image caption Chetham Library in Manchester is the oldest library in the English-speaking world

Manchester has been awarded City of Literature status, joining a club of 27 such cities around the world.

The city's successful application was put together by Manchester City Council, the universities, and the Manchester Literature Festival.

Manchester, home to the UK's oldest public lending library and is the birthplace of writers including Elizabeth Gaskell and Anthony Burgess.

Norwich, Nottingham and Edinburgh are the UK's other cities on the list.

Others in Unesco's worldwide Creative Cities network include Baghdad, Barcelona and Melbourne.

Unesco Cities of Literature are awarded the title based on their dedication to pursuing excellence in literature locally, and work together to promote new national and international literary links.

A programme of cultural events and community writing projects will be developed to celebrate Manchester's City of Literature status.

'Vibrant literary heritage'

Andrew Biswell, Professor of Modern Literature at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "There is a long history of literary activity in Manchester.

"In 1653, Humphrey Chetham left money in his will to create one of the first reference libraries in England, still open to the public today, and in more recent times there has been a flourishing of university creative writing schools in Manchester.

"The award of this designation by Unesco recognises these achievements and I am sure it will encourage more public support of writing and publishing."

Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate and creative director of Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "I'm so pleased - we have a proud history of working together to find new voices and support and celebrate new writing, and ours is a city where literature is loved."

Will Carr, assistant director of the Anthony Burgess Foundation, added: "With both a vibrant literary heritage and contemporary literature scene, it is a great time to be both a writer and reader in the city."

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