Did you know that Dublin, Ireland, is a designated UNESCO City of Literature? I didn’t. (It was named one in July 2010.)
Do you know what qualifies a city to be an official City of Literature? I didn’t. I wasn’t even really aware of this classification, but now that I am, I think it’s pretty cool. Acording to the United Nations Education, Science and Culture website, a City of Literature has:
- Quality, quantity and diversity of editorial initiatives and publishing houses;
- Quality and quantity of educational programmes focusing on domestic or foreign literature in primary and secondary schools as well as universities;
- Urban environment in which literature, drama and/or poetry play an integral role;
- Experience in hosting literary events and festivals aiming at promoting domestic and foreign literature;
- Libraries, bookstores and public or private cultural centres dedicated to the preservation, promotion and dissemination of domestic and foreign literature;
- Active effort by the publishing sector to translate literary works from diverse national languages and foreign literature;
- Active involvement of media, including new media, in promoting literature and strengthening the market for literary products.
There are 6 cities across the world that are listed as official Cities of Literature:
- Edingburgh, Scotland
- Melbourne, Australia
- Iowa City, USA
- Dublin, Ireland
- Reykjavik, Iceland
- Norwich, England
Ireland has recently released a new stamp that draws attention to, and celebrates, Dublin’s status as a City of Literature. This cool stamp sells for about 60 cents. It has a 224 word short story on it by Irish writer Eoin Moore. You can read the story below or by clicking on the image of the stamp above.
“The thick clouds cover up the moonlight, but the city’s lights provide worthwhile illumination – above them all, the beacon burns bright atop the monolithic podium, signalling to wayfaring voyages the ancient Viking settlement. Now, where Norsemen once stood, I look back, along the quays, streets and alleys, to where the inhabitants live their lives: eating, speaking, and breathing their city into existence. It gives me cause to wonder, as I stroll aimlessly along the cobbled paths, about those who have traversed them before me, by carriage or before there were even cobbles to walk upon. I feel their lives and mine are somehow connected, that we all were at one point a part of this city, living pieces of its grand, striking framework. Every High King and scholar, every playwright and poet, every politician and every rebel, every merchant, student, and busker who ever set foot in the city holds or held onto a chunk of this city’s soul; every one of them stepped to the city’s heartbeat. I listen to the streets at night and I can feel the city’s lifeblood pumping through me; I can feel myself flowing through it. All of us who travel those arteries step on the words, actions, and lives of those who travelled them before us. The city embodies the people, and the people embody the city.”
— Eoin Moore
Via The Digital Reader.