Slemani, a city in Iraq, became a UNESCO Creative City of Literature in 2019. Literature plays an active role in the cultural and economic development of Slemani - a regional cultural center.
Literature and literary creation hold sway over the city, which is also a regional translation capital and home to seven major publishing houses. Today the city hosts major literary festivals including the annual Galawezh Festival, founded in 1996 that invites Kurdish, Arab, Persian, Turkish and Iraqi writers to participate and contribute with their work.
Slemani focuses on designing and implementing policies and measures to support both the creators and the creation of new literature.
Facing the outbreak of coronavirus, the city of Slemani launched an initiative titled 'Literature and Arts as Helpmate and Therapist’ to help people in confinement are practicing social distancing to stay resilient and united.
The initiative aims to support the COVID-19 patients in particular by providing them with creative and inspirational literary works and materials. Writers, authors, artists and journalists from other Creative Cities of Literature were called upon to share their optimistic creations and visions, as well as positive life experiences to help people cope and recovery.
To date, the Creative Cities of Literature of Durban (South Africa), Melbourne (Australia), Ulyanovsk (Russian Federation), Óbidos (Portugal) and Odessa (Ukraine) have shown their interest and contributed to this initiative.
The collected literary works will be integrated and digitalized in a collection entitled ‘Caring for Each Other is a Human Right’ to be made available online and disseminated among the participating Creative Cities.