December 11, 2015, by Charlotte Anscombe

Nottingham named UNESCO City of Literature

UNESCO has awarded the city of Nottingham the ‘City of Literature’ status. This coveted accolade was the result of a bid process that started two years ago. The University of Nottingham was one of the partners that played a major part in making the bid a success.

BromleyHouseLibrary    DawnOfTheUnreadFlashmob

The announcement was made by the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in Paris today: This represents an immense potential to assert the role of culture as enabler of sustainable development.

“I would like to recognise the many new cities and their countries that are enriching the network with their diversity.”

UNESCO’s City of Literature programme is part of its Creative Cities Network which was launched in 2004. Its aim is to promote the ‘social, economic and cultural development of cities in both the developed and the developing world’. An important aspect of the Creative Cities concept is that cities foster public/private partnerships particularly by encouraging the entrepreneurial and creative potential of small enterprises.

Professor Jeremy Gregory, Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts at The University of Nottingham, said “I am delighted that the city has won this prestigious award. The University of Nottingham has a great deal to offer the City of Literature through its important holdings of early books and manuscripts and the D.H. Lawrence collection, and its long standing strength of expertise in both English and International literatures and Creative Writing. We are excited to join our city partners in developing and opening up access to our literary heritage and contemporary creative culture.”

David Belbin, Chair of the bid, said: “Our City of Literature bid has inspired the city. The bid process has helped so many things to happen in the last thirteen months, placing literature and Creative Writing at the heart of Nottingham life. We have brought the city together, made the writing scene more joined up and started using Nottingham literature to boost our young people’s literacy.

“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. This weekend, we celebrate. Next week, the hard work begins!”

The accolade is permanent and links Nottingham up with other cities in the UNESCO Creative Network:

For more info on the bid, please see the FAQ section of the website:


Posted in ArtsAwards and accolades