Founded 2,500 years ago in the region at the confluence of the Yellow River and Yangtze River, Nanjing served as China's capital for six dynasties for over 500 years. It boasts an ancient literary tradition that includes China's first literary academy and the world's largest reference work, the Imperial Encyclopaedia. Over 10,000 literary works have been written in or on Nanjing, including the Chinese classic “Dream of the Red Chamber” and Nobel laureate Pearl Buck's masterpiece “The Good Earth”.
Nanjing locals are known as bibliophiles and their city is home to Librairie Avant-Garde, regarded by many as one of the world's most beautiful bookstores. "Book Bars" along the ancient City Wall give new life to the city's heritage. The Qinhuai Lantern Festival attracts millions of visitors for poetry recitals and riddles. Nanjing Book Fair is held every March and programmes like the Half-city Book Club, one of China's most popular women's reading groups, ensure gender equal access to literature.
In 2018, Nanjing issued a development plan for the next 20 years in line with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to further develop cooperation, building on its creative and literary capital while supporting its environmental goals. Nanjing is also one of China’s key economic centres, with cultural industries playing an essential role in its development. The city also hosts the country’s top publishing group and best translation publisher. To promote growth in literature, the municipality has established a special fund for literary and cultural creativity.
As a Creative City of Literature, Nanjing envisages:
- promoting the UCCN objectives through cooperation and exchange notably in literature;
- contributing to nurturing the diversity of the Creative Cities Network and building long-term partnerships between world cities through the Literary Diversity and Urban Sustainability Forum;
- cultivating the next generation of cultural frontrunners by encouraging transversal partnerships;
- promoting literary exchange with dedicated funds for translation and the Resident Writers Programme; and
- expanding the “Window to World Literature” initiative across different world regions to promote the Network's vision and international exchange.