World Book Capital

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World Book Capital is a title bestowed by UNESCO to a city in recognition of the quality of its programs to promote books and reading and the dedication of all players in the book industry.

The designation runs from UNESCO's World Book and Copyright Day (April 23) of one year until April 22 of the following year.

About the title[edit]

The success of World Book and Copyright Day, launched in 1996, encouraged UNESCO to develop the concept of World Book Capital City, selecting Madrid as the Capital for 2001. This was again a success, and so UNESCO's General Conference resolved to make the designation of a World Book Capital City an annual event.

UNESCO invited the International Publishers Association, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and the International Booksellers Federation to participate in the nomination process, to ensure the three major branches of the book industry can participate in the decision.

The nomination does not include any financial prize; it rather acknowledges the best programmes dedicated to books and reading.

Nomination criteria[edit]

The nominating committee welcomes programmes — presented by or endorsed by the mayor of the city making the application — that promote and foster reading. The programmes are to run from one World Book and Copyright Day and the next. The nomination committee will turn its attention to certain criteria:

  • the degree of participation of all levels (from the municipal to the international level)
  • the programme's potential impact
  • the scope and quality of the activities proposed by the candidates, and the extent to which they involve writers, publishers, booksellers and libraries
  • any other projects promoting books and reading
  • the extent to which the programme respects the principles of freedom of expression, as stated by the UNESCO Constitution as well as by Articles 19 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by the Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials

World Book Capital cities[edit]

The following cities have been designated as World Book Capitals:

Year City Country
2001 Madrid  Spain
2002 Alexandria  Egypt
2003 New Delhi  India
2004 Antwerp[1]  Belgium
2005 Montreal[2]  Canada
2006 Turin[3]  Italy
2007 Bogotá[4]  Colombia
2008 Amsterdam[5]  Netherlands
2009 Beirut[6]  Lebanon
2010 Ljubljana[7]  Slovenia
2011 Buenos Aires[8]  Argentina
2012 Yerevan[9]  Armenia
2013 Bangkok[10]  Thailand
2014 Port Harcourt[11]  Nigeria
2015 Incheon[12]  South Korea
2016 Wrocław[13]  Poland
2017 Conakry[14]  Republic of Guinea

Wrocław as the World Book Capital[edit]

On the 24th of June 2014 the UNESCO committee decided to award Wrocław to be the next World Book Capital after Incheon. In 2016 Wrocław will not only become the first Polish city to hold the World Book Capital Title, but it will also be the European Capital of Culture during that year. The committee stated that “Civic leaders in Wroclaw have developed an excellent programme that will promote reading among the wider public all through the year”. The Director-General also thanked the selection committee “for its valuable work in favor of the promotion of books and of reading, through a global initiative that highlights the commitment of cities from different regions of the world.”[15]

Apart from Wrocław, three other cities competed for the title of the World Book Capital in 2016. Those cities were Brasília (Brazil), Montilla (Spain) and Sharjah (United Arab Emirates). [16]


External links[edit]