Reykjavík Nominated as UNESCO City of Literature
Reykjavík City, the capitol of Iceland has been designated as UNESCO City of Literature. With this nomination, Reykjavík joins Edinburgh, Melbourne, Iowa City and Dublin, as the fifth City of Literature, in the Creative Cities Network. Network. Reykjavik is the first non-native English speaking city to receive the title.
In the official letter of nomination, the UNESCO committee states: “The City of Reykjavik boasts foremost an outstanding literary history with its invaluable heritage of ancient medieval literature, the Sagas, the Edda and the Íslendingabók, Libellus Islandorum (Book of Icelanders). This longstanding tradition has naturally cultivated the city’s strength in literature education, preservation, dissemination and promotion."
"For a city of small population, approximately 200,000 habitants, Reykjavik is especially appreciated for demonstrating the central role literature plays within the modern urban landscape, the contemporary society and the daily life of the citizens. With the support of the central government of Iceland, the city continues to pursue its development plans in support of languages, translation initiatives as well as international literary exchanges.“
“I celebrate the fact that Reykjavik has been designated UNESCO City of Literature. This is a great honour for Reykjavik. Icelandic art and culture is internationally known and this title confirms just how valuable our cultural heritage actually is. Our culture is the most valuable of all our resources,“ said Reykjavík mayor Jon Gnarr.
The committee also states that the city’s collaborative approach through cooperation between various actors involved in literature, such as in publishing, in libraries, etc, in addition to the strong presence of writers, poets and children’s book authors, gives the city a unique position in the world of literature.
The project “Reykjavik City of Literature“ will be officially launched at the Reykjavik International Literary Festival in September. The project will also be promoted internationally at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, where Iceland is Guest of Honour, in cooperation with the project Fabulous Iceland. See also the application at www.literature.is and UNESCO‘s announcement.