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Nanjing progresses bid to become China's first City of Literature
2017-05-18

Nanjing, in East China's Jiangsu province, has started its application to become the first Chinese city declared a UNESCO City of Literature, the Nanjing-based Yangtse Evening Post reported.

 

With a history dating back 2,500 years, Nanjing has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having served as the capital for various Chinese dynasties and governments.

 

It is known for its literary history and heritage as it home to one world cultural heritage site and four world intangible cultural heritage items.

 

Nanjing has been recognized as a city of poetry and a hub of literature as it boasts 100 cultural centers and over 300 book stores, the report said.

 

The city is also home to some world-renowned writers, including Cao Xueqin, author of the classic novel Dream of the Red Chamber.

 

UNESCO's Creative Cities Network was 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 and Iowa City.

 

Huang Fan, a famous Chinese poet and novelist living in Nanjing, said the city is recognized as a de facto literature city, but being designated as a UNESCO's City of Literature would help promote the city. Interacting with other Cities of Literature would also give people in other countries a better understanding of Nanjing.

 

Bi Feiyu, a writer and professor of Faculty of Arts at Nanjing University, said it takes more than cultural heritage and writers to be named a City of Literature. More importantly, it is ordinary people's participation in cultural activities such as reading.

 

He suggested the local government make policies to improve people's reading environment, such as encouraging more book shops.

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