Manchester is an UNESCO City of Literature

3rd November 2017
in news

We were very excited to get the news this week that Manchester has been successful in a bid to join the UNESCO Creative Cities network as a City of Literature.

Manchester, which built the UK’s first public lending library and gave the world the work of great writers including, our very own, Elizabeth Gaskell and Anthony Burgess, will join cities including Baghdad, Dublin, Barcelona, Prague, Melbourne, and Reykjavik in the global network.

Manchester’s successful bid was coordinated by a consortium involving Manchester City Council, the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Manchester Literature Festival, plus representatives of the city’s writers, publishers and literary organisations.

Cathy Bolton, Co-director of the Manchester Literature Festival, said:  “We are delighted to be one of the key partners in Manchester’s successful bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature.  Boasting a rich and radical literary heritage, a vibrant and diverse live literature scene, two world class writing schools, and a proactive library service, Manchester is already a thriving hub of literary endeavour. We look forward to harnessing our collective energies in the development of some ambitious new projects, collaborating with international partners and engaging more people from across Manchester in transformative reading and writing activities.”

This new city status will bring international recognition to the city, attract new visitors and encourage people from across the globe to visit the home of Manchester’s most famous Victorian author, Elizabeth Gaskell.  We do already get many visitors who come on a literary pilgrimage to the city and whose itinerary will include Elizabeth Gaskell’s House (of course), The John Rylands Library (incidentally where many of Elizabeth’s original manuscripts are held) and the Portico Library. This new city status will uncover new places to visit, new events and encourage new writers – we can’t wait!

A Large Cheerful, airy house, quite out of Manchester smoke.

Charlotte Brontë on visiting the House, 1851