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Nanjing applies to become UN 'city of literature’

Nanjing, capital city of China’s Jiangsu province, hopes to be designated a “city of literature” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), according to Long Xiang, deputy secretary of Nanjing municipality.


If selected, Nanjing would become the first Chinese city to receive this designation among UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network; Edinburgh was the first city chosen.


Nanjing is bursting with literary history and heritage, boasting one world cultural heritage site and four world intangible cultural heritage items, Long said at the International Forum of Literature Diversity and Urban Sustainable Development, held at Nanjing University on May 15.


With a history dating back 2,500 years, 450 of which the city spent as capital of China, Nanjing has been recognized as a city of poetry, a city of Buddhism and a hub of literature, Yangtze Evening Post reported. Long told the newspaper that Nanjing now has 15 public libraries, 100 cultural centers and 300 book stores.


As a literary powerhouse, Nanjing has been attracting and spawning famous poets and writers for hundreds of years. The list of famous Nanjing writers is lengthy and diverse, ranging from Li Bai, a renowned poet, to Cao Xueqin, author of the classic novel "Dream of the Red Chamber," to more contemporary writers like Lu Xun and Ba Jin.


UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network launched in 2004 to recognize cities that are distinguished in one of seven creative fields: crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, music and media arts. So far, UNESCO has designated 20 cities of literature, including Krakow, Edinburgh, Heidelberg, Iowa City and more.

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