Hobart successfully nominated as City of Literature

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The City of Hobart has been declared as a ‘City of Literature’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Hobart becomes just the second Australian city to receive the international honour, joining Melbourne in this distinguished group of cities alongside Edinburgh, Prague, Barcelona, Dublin and Quebec as Cities of Literature.

The new title boosts Hobart’s goal to be recognised internationally as a city of knowledge, science and creativity.

Cities are awarded a place in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network following a rigorous nomination process.

“The cities in our Creative Cities Network are leading the way when it comes to enhancing access to culture and galvanizing the power of creativity for urban resilience and development,” says Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General.

Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said the award was an honour for Hobart.

“This award will strengthen Hobart’s expanding literary sector and encourage investment in the city’s creative industries,” Cr Reynolds said.

“It will build pride and confidence, and give creative people, producers, retailers and educational institutions new opportunities to tap into an international community of peers.

“Tasmania’s Aboriginal community revived this island’s original culture and stories with palawa kani, a hybrid of lutruwita’s indigenous languages.

“Literature flourished early in colonial Hobart – Australia’s first novel was published in Hobart in 1818 and Hobart had the nation’s first public library and published the nation’s first ‘free press’ newspaper.

“This ethos of story-telling and literature has continued here, with a thriving and award-winning culture of writing, reading, theatre and poetry.

“Hobart is home to a multitude of award-winning and best-selling authors who punch well above their weight in terms of national and international prizes won, including the Vogel Award, Stella Prize, Commonwealth Writers Prize, Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and the Booker Prize.”

The honour bestowed on Hobart has been due to the hard work of the City of Literature Project Working Group, comprised of people from TAS Writers, Libraries Tasmania, University of Tasmania, Brand Tasmania, Fullers Bookshop and hosted by Cr Reynolds.

Libraries Tasmania Executive Director Sue McKerracher said the successful nomination would have benefits for all Tasmanians.

“Nipaluna/Hobart has a fantastic history of storytelling dating back thousands of years,” Ms McKerracher said.

“This is clearly a literary city and state, but it’s also a place where low literacy is a challenge. We plan to take advantage of this designation at the State Library in Hobart and through our state-wide public library network to promote reading, writing and a love of books as something for everyone.

“As part of the nomination process we received a lot of support from writers, literacy organisations and creative agencies like the Theatre Royal and MONA.”

As endorsed at the May council meeting, consideration will now be given for the next steps.

UNESCO’s media release can be found here.

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