Budapest will apply for 2023 UNESCO World Book Capital
The title can help support both the book industry and the actors involved in cultural tourism
- October 21, 2020 18:30
Budapest will submit its candidature for the 2023 title of “World Book Capital” under the aegis of UNESCO, Mayor Gergely Karácsony announced at a press conference at Fővárosi Szabó Ervin Library on Tuesday. This goal has broad cultural and tourism significance: the last few months have affected both sectors very unfavourably, and we hope that with the one-year series of programmes to be implemented we can support both the book industry and the actors involved in cultural tourism, said the Mayor, quoted by the city website.
Every year since 2001, through a competition, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been selecting a city that will operate as the “World Book Capital” for a full year from April to next March. The last European book capitals were Wroclaw (2016), Conakry (2017), Athens (2018), Sharjah (2019), and the current title holder Kuala Lumpur (2020). Tbilisi has been designated for 2021, and in 2023, the rotation of world regions will once again help a European city to achieve the title.
“Exactly 18 years ago, we were able to enjoy a very long-awaited event, the Imre Kertész Nobel Prize for Literature. This award raised Hungary to its well-deserved rank in international literary life, and Budapest intends to continue on this path now that it is applying for the title of World Book Capital,” said Gy. Németh Erzsébet, deputy mayor for humanities.
Eradicating cultural poverty
She informed that most of the programmes are planned to be free because the basic goal of the capital's leadership is to eradicate cultural poverty. “Unfortunately, many people in Hungary cannot afford to buy new books, buying books has become a privilege. If Budapest's application receives support, our intention is to organize free book and reading promotion programes that are accessible to everyone.”
The application which includes a presentation of the annual action programme, and a list of contributors and partners, is being prepared by a professional panel headed by Dr. Péter Fodor, Director of Fővárosi Szabó Ervin Library. It is due to be submitted in the summer of 2021, with UNESCO expected to decide on the award in September 2021.
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