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KRAKÓW, UNESCO CITY OF LITERATURE Reykjavik, and Norwich. It was granted to Kraków after nearly three years of efforts, initiated by Edinburgh, our partner city. We’re also proud of the fact that over 150 writers, including Nobel prizewinners Orhan Pamuk, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Herta Mueller alongside Wisława Szymborska, put their name on our application. Kraków is, of course, the cradle of the Polish language and literature. It was here that over five hundred years ago the first books to be published in Polish, Historyja umęczenia Pana naszego Jezusa Chrystusa (anon., 1508), and Raj duszny by Biernat of Lublin (1513), came out from Florian Ungler’s printing press. Kraków is the home of the Jagiellonian University, Poland’s oldest university, which has been pursuing its operations continuously for over 650 years. The historic libraries and archives of Kraków such as the Jagiellonian Library hold unique treasures of European literature. And the fact that the city hosts scores of theatre,

musical, cinematic, and of course literary events shows that it is a paramount European cultural centre. Every year the world’s most distinguished writers come to Kraków to attend international events such as the Miłosz Festival and the Conrad Festival. Kraków is also associated with many other renowned writers, such as Stanisław Wyspiański, Tadeusz Kantor, Stanisław Lem, Wisława Szymborska, Sławomir Mrożek, and Adam Zagajewski.

Rita Pagacz-Moczarska

Tomasz Wiech / KBF

raków is one of the seven cities in the world to have earned the title of UNESCO City of Literature. It received this honourable distinction in October 2013. The good news reached Kraków’s Mayor, Professor Jacek Majchrowski, on 21st October in a letter sent from Paris by Francesco Bandarin, Deputy to UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova. Mayor Majchrowski says the title means more than just prestige. It is also an opportunity to establish closer co-operation with the other cities which have had this title bestowed on them, facilitating new projects to promote literature and the arts. “It opens up new possibilities of funding for the development of the city’s literary programmes, such as Creative Europe, a new European programme, for which we shall be applying next year,” Magdalena Sroka, Kraków’s Deputy Mayor for culture and promotion commented after the award was announced. The title of UNESCO City of Literature has been conferred annually since 2004. Apart from Kraków it has been awarded to Edinburgh, Melbourne, Iowa City, Dublin,

Tomasz Wiech / KBF

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