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Melbourne announced as 'City of Literature' by United Nations


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Melbourne announced as City of Literature by United Nations

MELBOURNE has received the honour of being named a City of Literature by the United Nations, right on the eve of the city's Writers Festival.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has also added Melbourne to its Creative Cities Network.

Melbourne joins Edinburgh as a City of Literature and now sits alongside other cities in the network including Berlin, Buenos Aires and Montreal as Cities of Design and Bologna and Seville as Cities of Music.

Arts Minister Lynne Kosky said the award recognised and celebrated Melbourne’s rich literary culture, history and creative talent.

“From early colonial days, literature has helped shape the culture of Melbourne,†Ms Kosky said.

"The State Library of Victoria, founded in 1854, was the first major cultural institution established in the city.

“Today, Melbourne continues this literary tradition by being home to a third of all Australian writers and to Australia’s publishing sector.â€

Ms Kosky said the announcement will bring far reaching benefits to the city and across Victoria.

“This designation will have economic as well as cultural benefits for the state," she said.

"It will raise our international profile, draw new audiences and participation, and attract new literary activity – all of which will have flow-on effects in many areas, from tourism to book sales,†she said.

Booker Prize-winning Victorian writer Peter Carey lent his support to Melbourne’s bid and the city’s literary credentials.

“I can think of no other Australian city where the pleasures of reading and discussion are so passionately pursued,†Mr Carey said.

The UNESCO bid was part of the Brumby Government’s City of Literature Initiative, announced in the 2007-2008 State Budget, which aims to increase the profile of literature in Victoria.

The Melbourne Writers’ Festival runs from Friday 22 August until Sunday 31 August.

Interesting facts mentioned in The Age about the same topic:

-Melbourne boasts more bookshops per head of population than anywhere else in Australia.

-About a third of Australia's book-retailing businesses are in Victoria.

-Melbourne has the highest concentration of community book clubs in Australia.

-Victoria publishes a higher number of books, per head of population, than any other state.

Have a look at Write at the Centre for more info about the planned new Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas that will be incorporated at the State Library of Victoria in Swanston Street (between Little Lonsdale & La Trobe Streets) in Melbourne's CBD.

Edited by kangaroo
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As a bookworm, this is really good news to me!

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Wow, as a fellow bookworm and lover of libraries, I can't wait to see Melbourne for myself.

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