Athens Becomes 2018 World Book Capital

Cultural Events Promoting the Book Industry Will Flood the City

September 20th, 2016
Daniel Erhardt, CD News

Athens has been granted the title of World Book Capital for the year 2018 by the president of the UNESCO, Irina Bokova, following the recommendation of the World Book Capital Program’s Advisory Committee. During 2018, the city will be host to events including workshops, poetry readings, thematic exhibitions and concerts, attended by various professionals such as writers, publishers and illustrators.  

The aim of the World Book project is to promote reading and make literature accessible and attractive to the entire global population. Athens plays a key role in this promotion, not only because of its dedication to and professionalism within the book industry, as well as the quality of the city’s cultural infrastructure and its success in organizing international events, but also due to Greece’s role as the recipient of many refugees in recent times.

Ensuring the availability of reading facilities for these refugees is considered by the program to be a key step towards the integration and cultural engagement of this vulnerable community within Athens’ population.

The activities promoting reading and literature to be hosted by the city will have a rapturous start for book lovers on World Book and Copyright Day on April 23rd; a day traditionally marked on the anniversary of historical literary figures Cervantes and Shakespeare’s deaths.

Athens is the 18th city to hold the title of Word Book Capital. The project, aimed at promoting culture and literacy, started in 2001, with Madrid being the first city to hold the title. This year, the advisory committee, made up of representatives from UNESCO, the International Publishers Association and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, has received the highest number of candidacies since the program’s inception.

So far, cities all around Europe, Asia, Africa and America have held the title, including Alexandria, New Delhi, Antwerp, Montreal, Turin and this year, Wroclaw. 2017 will see Conakry, the capital city of Guinea, host the event, as a link in this chain of book, literature and literacy universalization. 


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