Dublin has been named as a UNESCO City of Literature. The Irish capital is only the fourth city of literature in the world and it joins the cities of Melbourne, Iowa City and Edinburgh.
UNESCO's City of Literature program is part of its Creative Cities Network, which was launched in 2004. The goal of UNESCO's program is to promote the social, economic and cultural development of cities in both the developed and the developing world.
Cities wanting to join the City of Literature Network need to meet a number of criteria:
- Quality, quantity and diversity of publishing initiatives
- Quality and quantity of educational programmes focusing on domestic or foreign literature at primary and secondary schools as well as universities
- Literature, drama and poetry are integrated in the city life
- Experience in organizing events and festivals promoting domestic and foreign literature
- Presence of bookstores, libraries and cultural centers, which promote, preserve and disseminate domestic and foreign literature
- Active involvement of publishing sector in translating literature
- Active involvement of all kinds of media in promoting literature
Literature and writing has always been a big part of the history of Dublin. The literary tradition of Dublin dates from the Middle Ages and the best preserved heritage of this is, 'The Book of Kells' dating from 800 AD, which is on display at Dublin's Trinity College.
Famous author names such as Swift, O'Casey, Shaw, Wilde, Beckett, Behan, Joyce, but also more recent names like McCann, Enright, Barry, O'Connor are synonymous with Dublin.
Dublin is proud of its literary heritage and the city is full of literary landmarks, from Chester Beatty Library, the James Joyce Tower, Yeats exhibition in the National Library to the Dublin Writers Museum. These landmarks capture both scholars and tourist imaginations when they visit the capital of Ireland.
Dublin's literary calendar is very diverse with book markets, lectures, readings, book fairs, street drama, theater and international festivals. Readers interested in James Joyce's Ulysses should visit Dublin on 16 June, on Bloomsday, where fans come together and commemorate the Irish writer's life and reenact scenes from the book.
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