World Book and Copyright Day 2017 celebrated at UNESCO

14 April 2017

World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated every year on 23 April, the date on which both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died. On this occasion, publishing houses, bookstores, libraries, cultural institutions and associations of authors mobilize across the world to promote reading, publishing, and protection of intellectual property.

This year the focus will be on the blind and the visually impaired for whom there is difficulty accessing books and other printed materials, which constitutes an obstacle to their full and effective participation in society. According to the World Blind Union (WBU), among the millions of books published worldwide each year, less than 10% are published in formats that are accessible to the blind. A rate that drops to 1% in developing countries.

“World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to highlight the power of books to promote our vision of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens,” UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova said in her message given on the occasion of the World Book and Copyright Day 2017.

In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNESCO advocates for the rights and needs of persons with disabilities and encourages the effective use of accessible, adaptive and affordable ICTs.

In this context, UNESCO is organizing a conference on accessibility issues, Accessibility, what are the challenges in publishing? (Monday, 24 April, 9 am to 12pm, ROOM II) with its partner Asfored (a French association for professional training and development in the field of publishing).

The Day also marks the beginning of the term of Conakry, capital of the Republic of Guinea, as World Book Capital (2017-2018). Conakry has been singled out by UNESCO and its partners "on account of the quality and diversity of its programme," in particular " its focus on community involvement,” as well as “for its well-structured budget and clear development goals with a strong emphasis on youth and literacy.”

The city of Conakry, along with the rest of the African continent, will be featured during the celebrations of the Day that will promote African literature at UNESCO headquarters on Monday, 24 April from 1pm to 5:30pm. Workshops, activities, reading clubs, musical performances and roundtables will be organized in the presence of African authors.

Several publishing houses will join the celebration, including À dos d'âne, Éditions Dagan, L'Harmattan Guinée, Editions Nubia, Michel Lafon Éditions, Présences Africaines and Librairie-Galerie Congo.

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Visit our World Book and Copyright Day page

More information about Conakry, UNESCO World Book Capital City 2017

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Journalists wishing to attend the event are requested to contact UNESCO’s Media Section
Contact: Djibril Kebe, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 41; d.kebe@unesco.org