On Friday 11 December, UNESCO awarded Nottingham with the status of City of Literature.
This accolade was the result of a bid process that was initiated approximately two years ago.
Nottingham joins eleven other UNESCO Cities of Literature across the globe: Edinburgh, Melbourne, Iowa City, Dublin, Reyjavik, Norwich, Krakow, Heidelburg, Granada, Prague and Dunedin.
Nottingham, the home of DH Lawrence, Lord Byron and Alan Sillitoe, was awarded the title based on the city’s literary heritage, its diverse writing community and its commitment to improving literacy across the city.
It is hoped that the City of Literature status will bring Nottingham’s literary and creative enterprises and other cultural and economic stakeholders even closer together. Activity is planned for programmes that will increase cultural tourism, improve literacy, encourage social cohesion and inclusivity, and support the wide range of creative businesses in and around Nottingham.
David Belbin from the Nottingham bid team said: “This is a marvellous result for Nottingham. It shows the world what we have established over the last year, that we truly are a city of literature, with a great heritage, a thriving creative writing scene and a promising future. UNESCO accreditation will make it easier to bring money and people to our literary scene.
“We look forward to fully contributing to the cultural cities network, taking our literature to the world, and bringing the world to Nottingham. I’d like to thank the very many people who have got involved over the last year, far too many to name, and all of our partners who made this great result possible.”
The bid, a 30,000 word proposal which took more than six months to write and research, was submitted to UNESCO in June this year. Local celebrities and best-selling authors have all thrown their support behind the bid campaign, including This is England actress Vicky McClure, Made in Dagenham screenwriter William Ivory and Alan Partridge producer Henry Normal. Others to have shown their support include John Harvey, author of the Detective Resnick novels set in Nottingham, and the family of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning writer Alan Sillitoe.
Councillor Cat Arnold, Executive Assistant for Culture, and board member on Nottingham City of Literature said: “It’s fantastic news that Nottingham has successfully secured UNESCO City of Literature status. This recognises the city’s incredible literary heritage with writers such as Byron, DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe, as well as the current literary renaissance underway in Nottingham, brought about by groups and organisations such as the Writers’ Studio and Bromley House Library, and celebrated with events like the Festival of Words.
“The status of UNESCO City of Literature will enable us to raise Nottingham’s profile on the world stage and help us nurture home-grown creativity from the many different communities that make Nottingham the diverse city that it is.”
For more information, please visit https://www.nottinghamcityofliterature.com