Nottingham named UNESCO City of Literature

After a bid launched in April 2014, an announcement was made on the afternoon of Friday 11th December that Nottingham has officially been awarded the prestigious title of UNESCO City of Literature.

Nottingham is now one of only twelve cities worldwide to claim this accolade, the others including Reykjavik, Heidelberg, Melbourne, Krakow, Edinburgh, Dublin and Norwich.

The award is a title for life, recognising not only the city’s rich cultural heritage, but also its ongoing and thriving contemporary literature scene.

The bidding process involved writing a 30,000 word proposal which took over six months to write and research.

“It shows the world what we have established over the last year – that we truly are a city of literature”

Speaking to The Nottingham Post, David Belbin, Chair of 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”.

He added: “We look forward to fully contributing to the cultural cities network, taking our literature to the world, and bringing the world to Nottingham”.

UNESCO’s decision is also predicted to bring tourism and revenue to the city, alongside encouraging greater literacy levels and support for creative businesses within Nottinghamshire.

“I think this award is well deserved for the city”

Second year English student, Larissa Rowan, told Impact: “It has been a long time coming. I think considering the fact that we have such great writers hailing from Nottingham, such as Alan Sillitoe and D.H. Lawrence, this award is well deserved for the city”.

Alongside renowned contemporary artists and collectives within the city, including Nonsuch Theatre Company and the Mouthy Poets, Nottingham also hosts a series of artistic festivals and events, which include the Nottingham European Arts and Theatre Festival (NEAT), the D.H. Lawrence Festival of Culture, and the recent Nottingham Poetry Festival.

The city is also famed for its three rebel writers Alan Sillitoe, Lord Byron and D.H. Lawrence.

However, despite the recognition the city has received for its rich literary history, one of its prime literary tourist attractions, the D.H. Lawrence Heritage Centre in Eastwood, faces closure in March 2016.

It remains to be seen whether Nottingham’s newest accolade will affect Broxtowe Borough Council’s decision to close the centre.

Amy Wilcockson

Image: Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr

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