Capital of the Lombardia Region, Milan (pop. 1,368,590) is the centre of Italian publishing, representing 15% of the national book market. Milan has long asserted a rich literary tradition having been the home to Umberto Eco, Carlo Porta, Alessandro Manzoni, as well as Nobel laureates Eugenio Montale and Dario Fo. The city also inspired and attracted many renowned writers including Stendhal and Ernest Hemingway. The literature sector today is the economic backbone of Milan, hosting 51% of all Italian publishing firms, 35 literary agencies and over 20 active professional associations.
Through its literary events, Milan has developed an important expertise on responsible and strategic action for the future of the publishing sector. In 2012, it launched the Bookcity; an event devoted to discussing the transformation of the publishing industry in the digital era. Digital innovation is also at the core of Librinnovando; the annual national conference dedicated to the future of publishing, and the Engaging the Reader event; a free annual workshop organised by students featuring debates and conventions around the new utility of books and their place and role in a modern and digitalised world.
As part of its Smart City Strategy, Milan has been further reflecting on the digital value for literature, notably through the BooksinItaly.it initiative. To promote literature as a socio-economic driver, the municipality has been working closely with the private sector. An example of this cooperation is the Patto di Milano per la Lettura (Milan Pact for Reading) project which has helped restoring value to the act of reading as an essential part of citizenship. Milan also played a key role in the creation of Città del Libro; a network of Italian Cities of Books promoting literature and reading as a mean to improve quality of life, social inclusion and economic growth.
As a Creative City of Literature, Milan envisages:
- equipping the city of Milan with an evolving series of maps documenting and monitoring the system of literary and editorial production;
- using reading as a tool for social inclusion by developing training events targeting vulnerable and disadvantaged groups;
- strengthening dialogue between the different creative sectors of the city through special cross-cutting initiatives;
- creating a laboratory, in partnership with other Creative Cities of Literature, aimed at monitoring the evolution of new opportunities offered by both the paper and digital publishing industry to the job market;
- developing the Places to Read initiative, aimed at monitoring new employment opportunities in the field of literature; and
- implementing an action-oriented initiative across Creative Cities of Literature to map cultural hubs, providing artistic residencies to young authors.