Reykjavik designated as UNESCO Creative City of Literature
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, designated Reykjavik (Iceland) as "City of Literature" on 2 August 2011, as part of the Organization’s Creative Cities Network.
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.
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 is also noted to give the city a unique position in the world of literature.
With Reykjavik, the Creative Cities Network now has 29 members. As the fifth City of Literature, the city joins Edinburgh, Melbourne, Iowa City and Dublin in enriching the Network with its best literary practices.