In 2016, Wrocław, the fourth largest city in Poland, with around 1 million residents, had the honour of being named UNESCO World Book Capital. Today, the city is home to 60 bookshops and around 30 publishers, which annually implement over 300 literary projects. The municipal government is also heavily invested in Wrocław’s literary culture and by 2017, the city’s expenditure on culture had grown to US$ 39.5 million. Since 2014, 11 new cultural institutions have been established, including the Wrocław Literature House dedicated to literary activities.
Wrocław’s literary festivals are world renowned. Of these, the Wrocław Good Books Fair is a major national and international event, promoting quality fictions, while creating an opportunity to meet authors, and participate in lectures and workshops. It also hosts the most prestigious literature award ceremony in Poland. Another highlight of Wrocław’s literary calendar is the International Short Story Festival. This multidimensional celebration of short prose aims to promote the interaction between authors and their audience and acts as a platform for exchange between Polish and foreign writers.
The municipal government of Wrocław is investing significant energy in creating policies to promote the city’s literary heritage, as a result, several important programmes for literary creative industries were initiated during the preparation and implementation of the programme of European Capital of Culture (ECoC) and UNESCO World Book Capital. From 2016 onwards, literature and readership have been deeply incorporated into the city’s strategy of sustainable development through culture. Furthermore, the city is looking to use literature as a medium for inclusion for minority groups such as citizens over 60 and foreigners. From 2020, Wrocław will initiate a 4-year project of lectures on Polish literature, in English and Ukrainian, to ensure equal access to cultural goods and counteract xenophobia.
As a Creative City of Literature, Wrocław envisages:
- strengthening international cooperation between cities in the Network through collaborative and knowledge-exchange events;
- sharing good practices in the area of cooperation between the public and private sectors through the Wrocław Publishing Programme;
- sharing solutions to improve access to culture among vulnerable and marginalized groups;
- launching activities in Wrocław in the area of cross-city cooperation, enriching the field of culture and, as a result, enhancing the dissemination of cultural goods and services; and
- implementing rigorously the Sustainable Development Goals in the trans-border region of Wrocław.