Kozhikode has officially presented its bid for UNESCO’s recognition as a ‘City of Literature.’

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City of Literature
Kozhikode has officially presented its bid for UNESCO's recognition as a 'City of Literature.' 2

City of Literature

If Kozhikode is successful, it will become the first city in India to be designated with the ‘City of Literature’ title. Another city, Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, is also bidding for the status of ‘City of Music.’

Kozhikode has a strong case for the ‘City of Literature’ tag due to its abundance of resources. It boasts over 500 libraries and more than 70 publishers, providing a solid foundation for its application for UNESCO’s ‘City of Literature’ status.

The city of Kozhikode has officially submitted its final bid for UNESCO’s ‘City of Literature’ status, which has been approved by the Union government. Mayor Beena Philip recently met with representatives from the Union Ministry for Education and Culture, as well as the Sahitya Akademi, in Delhi to facilitate the approval of the Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO in order to bid for the designation.

Kozhikode has been diligently preparing for this bid over the past two years. The Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) initiated the proposal as part of its plan to develop six cities in the state as ‘Creative Cities.’ The Kozhikode Corporation promptly took action and reached out to authorities in cities that have already received the title, such as Prague in the Czech Republic, Krakow in Poland, and Edinburgh in Scotland, to learn from their activities and preparations.

Ludmila Kolouchova, a research scholar from Prague University, conducted a study in Kozhikode to assess its suitability. She found that the city had an impressive number of libraries and publishers, exceeding 500 and 70 respectively, which provided a strong foundation for its application. The city’s standing as the permanent venue for the annual Kerala Literature Festival and several book fests further bolstered its claim.

Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan recently met with students from the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, who had conducted a study on the possibilities. They submitted a report to the Minister, who assisted the Corporation in making the appropriate moves. The Corporation also requested the Minister to be one of the patrons of the project, while the Chief Minister of the State would serve as the Chief patron.

If all goes well, Kozhikode will soon become India’s first ‘City of Literature.’ This year, the Center has also approved Gwalior’s bid for the ‘City of Music’ status in Madhya Pradesh.

The UNESCO ‘City of Literature’ designation has been awarded since 2004, with Edinburgh being the first city to receive the title. To be awarded the status, a city must demonstrate a sufficient number of institutions dedicated to literary life, its ability to organize various literary events, adequate literary education, and a high level of quality, quantity, and diversity in literary activities.

Read: Indian Literature : An overview of great tradition, https://www.citiesoflit.com/

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