Manchester City of Literature has announced its new team, reaffirming its dedication to championing the city’s diverse cultural offering on a global stage. 

As part of the update, a new website has been unveiled, to be utilised to promote Manchester’s diverse literary sector as well as inviting curious minds to learn more about what the city has to offer. 

Manchester was permanently designated a UNESCO City of Literature in 2017, following a successful bid by Manchester City Council, the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester Literature Festival and partners such as Carcanet Press, The Portico Library, and Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. 

The prestigious title recognises the city’s commitment to supporting excellence in literature throughout the city, and involving as many Mancunians as possible in all the opportunities afforded by Manchester’s rich literary past and thriving literary present. 

This year sees the launch of the Manchester City of Literature’s executive office and the employment of Partnerships and Communications Manager, Jo Flynn, and Community Engagement Manager, Reece Williams. All the team are passionate about promoting the city’s diverse literary activity and UNESCO status.

Ivan Wadeson, Manchester City of Literature’s Executive Director, believes that now is the perfect moment to reintroduce Manchester to the exciting work that Manchester City of Literature is doing.

“We’re a city that boasts four historic libraries in its centre, 24 public libraries, hundreds of literature events, two writing schools, more than a dozen regular spoken word nights - I could go on!” Ivan said. “If you live in Manchester, you know it’s bursting at the seams with creativity. It’s our job at Manchester City of Literature to make sure that news of what we have to offer is spread far and wide.”

He added that in a city where more than 200 languages are spoken, it was an essential part of Manchester City of Literature’s remit that people from all backgrounds had the opportunity to tell their stories. 

“We want a city that celebrates its diverse voices, where creative talent and industries are nurtured and where literary activity changes lives,” he said. 

“We’re going to do this by bringing together all our partners and the writing community to work with local communities very closely, to build well-being, their confidence and their skills to enable them to tell their stories, and share them.”

Zahid Hussain, Chair of Manchester City of Literature, added that the website was a key tool in promoting Manchester’s UNESCO status on a global level, as well as for linking Manchester’s local communities to the wider writing community. 

“The new website is really going to provide a meeting place for both Manchester’s resident creatives and for those from all around the globe who are curious about what our world leading city has to offer,” he said. “We want to make clear that as much as we love libraries and books, that isn’t just what literature is about. The website, just like literature itself, is for anyone and everyone. We believe that whoever you are, there will be something for you on it.”

The easy to navigate website is populated with all the latest information about events and activities. Whether you’re looking for writing packs for young people, activities in your local library or chances to get creative to benefit your mental health, the new site has got you covered.

It also offers details of projects such as the Festival of Libraries and International Mother Language Day, positioning Manchester City of Literature at the forefront of Manchester’s vibrant cultural scene.

The mayor of Greater Manchester has been vocal in his support of Manchester’s status as a City of Literature, expressing his pride at the UNESCO designation. 

“Of course Manchester is a UNESCO Creative City!” Andy Burnham said. “Our creativity in this city knows no bounds, and the thriving literature scene is something we should all be proud of. 

“Manchester has a strong literary heritage seen to this day in our historic libraries, long-standing universities, and celebrated heritage buildings such as Elizabeth Gaskell's House, but we also have an eclectic and diverse contemporary literature scene in our spoken word events, indie publishers and award-winning theatres. 

“Literature is for us all, it's in the ways we speak to each other every day, in how we teach our kids at home, in stories we see ourselves in. Diversity of language and freedom of speech are part of Manchester's radical cultural identity and I'm so proud to see Manchester literature recognised on this global stage.”

And Labour Councillor Luthfur Rahman has also expressed his delight with the designation, saying that ‘culture, arts, creativity and literature are so important to Manchester’.

“It's important to the city's economy, it's important to jobs, to the health and wellbeing of our city,” he said. “It's the reason people come to live here and work here, it's the reason Manchester is the second most visited city in the United Kingdom.

“So therefore, I am so delighted that Manchester has been designated a UNESCO City of Literature. I hope this designation acts as a catalyst for more people to get involved in literature, to take up reading, writing, and just enjoy the literary offer that's available in the city.”

The new website can be found at http://www.manchestercityofliterature.com/

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