On 26 July Dublin was designated a UNESCO City of Literature, one of only four in the world. Formal notification was received by a delighted Lord Mayor of Dublin, Gerry Breen, who said that the award confirmed that “this is a city that has always produced - and continues to produce - great writers.”
The sought after accolade was bestowed by the Director General of UNESCO and recognises Dublin’s cultural profile and its international standing as a city of literary excellence. It joins Edinburgh (2004), Melbourne (2008) and Iowa City (2008) in meeting the demanding criteria established by UNESCO, including the quality and quantity of editorial initiatives, publishing houses, educational programmes focusing on domestic or foreign literature in primary and secondary schools as well as universities.
Detailed application was made to UNESCO last November by a steering and management group led by Dublin City Council’s library service and was subject to a rigorous vetting procedure. Partners in the submission included representatives from literary-related organisations as well as culture, arts, tourism, government, media and educational institutions across the city and country.
The designation as City of Literature, part of the UNESCO Creative Cities network, provides a unique platform for Dublin’s literary community and enables the city to increase its market share as a destination for business and pleasure - and Ireland as a creative, exciting, and vibrant nation. Dublin, UNESCO City of Literature has enormous potential for beneficial cultural and economic impacts not alone in the capital city, but in communities across the country.