On August 29, 2008, it was announced that UNESCO director general Koïchiro Matsuura had named Melbourne, Australia, a City of Literature, as part of the organization’s Creative Cities Network.
“Melbourne demonstrates the important role literature plays in the overall development of the city, through various multilingual editorial initiatives, the active development of related industries, and the quality of educational programs and public events reaching out to different audiences reflecting the cultural diversity of local communities,” concluded UNESCO’s evaluation of Melbourne’s successful bid.
The UNESCO press release notes that Melbourne joins Edinburgh as the second City of Literature in the network of 12 creative cities, including Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Montréal (Cities of Design) and Bologna, Seville, and Glasgow (Cities of Music).
UNESCO established the Creative Cities Network at the end of 2004 to support social, economic, and cultural development. “The cities that join the network promote their local creative scene, share their experience with a wider audience, and create new opportunities both for themselves and others through this global platform. The development of partnerships between the public and private sectors is a key feature of the network.”
UNESCO remarked that “the title recognizes Melbourne’s rich literary culture, history, and creative talent.” Melbourne is home to a third of all Australian writers and to Australia’s publishing sector, the press release concludes.