We are a global network of 28 cities who specialise in literature; the UNESCO designation ‘City of Literature’ recognises excellence and places an obligation on cities to nurture and support their artform and collaborate internationally by sharing best practice, supporting freedom of speech and through projects which ensure literature reaches as wide and diverse an audience as possible, locally and internationally.

The Cities of Literature are part of a wider UNESCO Creative Cities Network currently made up of 180 UNESCO Creative Cities globally. Members from 72 countries covering seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts have all received UNESCO designations which recognise past, present and future: a strong cultural heritage, a vibrant and diverse contemporary cultural scene, and aspirations to extend culture to the next generation at home and to other cities in a global partnership. The designations are monitored and reviewed every four years by UNESCO. To meet the criteria, each city makes a commitment to developing a shared network strategy, fostering the exchange of information, encouraging global partnerships and promoting creativity and culture.

The joint activities of the Cities of Literature include various city-to-city partnerships, regional initiatives as well as network-wide projects such as social media campaigns,  projects introducing the cities and their writers, and also parallel events an example of which is the World Poetry Day celebrated jointly on March 21st since 2018.  

As of 2017, the UNESCO Cities of Literature network of 28 cities represents 6 continents and 23 countries, and a combined population of over 26 million, 1250 libraries, 130 literary festivals and over 1200 bookshops. The Network is active in making the literary and creative sectors of cities thrive through the development and implementation of a shared global strategy, which aims to promote the network, share good practice, and ensure that literature reaches diverse audiences. 

 Edinburgh, Scotland (2004)

 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (2008)

 Iowa City, Iowa, United States (2008)

 Dublin, Ireland (2010)

 Reykjavík, Iceland (2011)

 Norwich, England (2012)

 Kraków, Poland (2013)

 Heidelberg, Germany (2014)

 Dunedin, New Zealand (2014) 

 Granada, Spain (2014)

 Prague, Czech Republic (2014)

Baghdad, Iraq (2015)

  Barcelona, Spain (2015)

Ljubljana, Slovenia (2015)

 Lviv, Ukraine (2015)

 Montevideo, Uruguay (2015)

 Nottingham, England (2015)


 Óbidos, Portugal (2015)


 Tartu, Estonia (2015)

 Ulyanovsk, Russia (2015)


Bucheon, South Korea (2017)


Durban, South Africa (2017)


Lillehammer, Norway (2017)


Manchester, England (2017)


 Milan, Italy (2017)


 Quebec City, Canada (2017)

  Seattle, United states (2017)

 Utrecht, Netherlands (2017)

More information about the UCCN available on the UNESCO webpage: