The University of Iowa

The world to visit Lit City

May 2nd, 2017
book and pen

By Isabella Senno, The Daily Iowan

Iowa City will entertain representatives from Australia to Poland in April 2018 in the annual meeting of the 20 UNESCO Cities of Literature.

UNESCO is a branch of the United Nations meant to promote international community through celebrating a variety of cultural, arts, and scientific topics. The Cities of Literature is a sub-network of the organization.

“Part of what UNESCO really wants to do is it wants to get cities working together, to lift each other, to give each other ideas, to give each other what in the arts world we call ‘best practices,’ which is basically a way of saying … stuff that gets people involved in the arts,” said Hugh Ferrer, a member of the local City of Literature board.

John Kenyon, executive director of the local City of Literature, said these annual gatherings are meant for collaborative discussion centered on innovation and improvement. The meeting is also meant to showcase the host city’s creative bounty.

“For us to be able to do that is going to be a tremendous opportunity because we can deepen our ties with the other cities in the network and show what it is we have [to] offer here,” Kenyon said. “Then those folks go off into their … corners of the world and know a little bit more about Iowa City and can serve as ambassadors in some ways to let the rest of the world know who we are and what we do here.”

For the past three years, Europe has held a monopoly on the event, with meetings in Heidelberg, Germany, Dublin, Ireland, and Barcelona, Spain. Kenyon said despite being among the smallest cities on UNESCO’s list, the delegates will still learn from Iowa City’s rich atmosphere.