Kozhikode, India’s First ‘City of Literature’ Earns UNESCO Recognition

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) honored Kozhikode as India’s first “City of Literature.” This recognition represents a significant milestone for the city. With this announcement on World Cities Day, Kozhikode joins a select club of global cities recognized for their dedication to advancing culture and innovation as vital elements of their development plans.

With 350 cities across more than 100 nations as members, the UCCN encompasses seven creative fields: crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music. Along with Kozhikode, Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh was also named the “City of Music.”

Starting in 2022 with a proposal from the Kerala Institute of Local Administration, Kozhikode’s road to become the ‘City of Literature’ was initiated. The application process was started by the Kozhikode Corporation and the University of Prague in the Czech Republic. Prague was a great help to Kozhikode’s goals, being the first city to be named a ‘City of Literature’ in 2014.

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The University of Prague research student, Ludmila Kolouchova, had a significant role in bringing Kozhikode this recognition. Her comparative analysis of Kozhikode and Prague brought to light the Indian city’s robust literary legacy, which includes over 500 libraries and over 70 publishers.

Kozhikode’s position of being the “City of Literature” was further reinforced by the fact that it operates as a permanent host for the annual Kerala Literature Festival along with other book festivals. The city effectively fulfilled the requirements for the title by showcasing its commitment to literary pursuits, its ability to host a variety of literary events and its high calibre of literary education.

Kozhikode and Gwalior have been asked to take part in the UCCN annual conference, which will take place in Braga, Portugal, from July 1 to 5, 2024, as newly recognized creative cities. The conference’s theme, “Bringing youth to the table for the next decade,” emphasizes how young people will influence the future of creative cities. This provides Kozhikode with a fantastic chance to participate in the global community, share its experiences, and exchange ideas. Kozhikode’s great literary legacy and dedication to promoting creativity and culture within its society is shown by being designated as the first “City of Literature” in India.

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