English literature cities unite to host global gathering

Nottingham and Norwich – two of the UK’s four Unesco Cities of Literature – will jointly host an international forum in 2019 with cultural leaders from 28 cities across the world.

Sandeep Mahal, director of the Unesco Nottingham City of Literature, told the Nottinghamshire Visitor Economy Summit on Monday (June 18) that the event will be called Nottwich 2019.

“It is the first time the global gathering of Cities of Literature will be in England,” she said.

“It is a priceless opportunity to promote the city to the rest of the world.

“It’s an opportunity to exchange best practice and look at culture in development of cities.”

She has recently returned from Krakow and Katowice for a Unesco creative cities annual meeting, where she has been an ambassador for Nottingham’s cultural and literary attractions.

Thanks to money from the VisitEngland Discover England Fund, Visit Nottinghamshire has been working with Hampshire – birthplace of Jane Austen – and the Shakespeare’s England organisation in Stratford-upon-Avon to create and promote literary-themed itineraries for US visitors.

Nottinghamshire is famous for its links with Lord Byron and D H Lawrence, although research has shown these are not quite famous enough to drive visitors from overseas – so she said the region must rely on the Robin Hood story to stimulate business.

“There is a huge opportunity for businesses to take advantage of our literary heritage,” she told delegates.

“If you want to be a successful city, you need culture as well as transport and housing.

“Culture is the golden thread, acting as a catalyst for ideas and innovation.”

She urged delegates to start using content and resources that the City of Literature has developed.

Pictured: Newstead Abbey, home of Lord Byron.