The city of Manchester has been awarded prestigious UNESCO City of Literature status, in recognition of its outstanding contributions to literary culture and its strong literacy history.
Manchester is home to the UK's oldest public lending library and is the birthplace of many famous writers including Elizabeth Gaskell and Anthony Burgess. The city has 22 public libraries, including Manchester Central Library, which is one of the busiest public libraries in the UK. The city hosts 800 literature events each year, including the Manchester Literature Festival. It is also home to world-class publishers, including Carcanet and Comma Press.
UNESCO Cities of Literature are dedicated to pursuing excellence in literature on a local level, engaging as many citizens as possible in a dynamic culture of words and encouraging the creation and sharing of stories. They work together to develop new local, national and international literary links, encouraging collaboration locally and across the world.
The National Literacy Trust and Manchester City Council have been championing literacy across the city with the Read Manchester campaign. Working with a range of partners, the campaign focuses on encouraging people across the city to read for pleasure. In summer 2017, BookBenches decorated with literary designs painted by local schools and community groups popped up across the city, highlighting the city's love of reading.