During the weekend, starting on 23 April (World Book and Copyright Day), Wroclaw, Poland was designated World Book Capital 2016 by UNESCO, with the promise of an innovative, diverse and inclusive literary programme of events that will be shared with the public for the coming year.
The ancient Polish city, which was also honoured as European Capital of Culture for 2016 (the first to obtain this double title), will host some 1,600 events designed for a broad variety of social groups and focusing on audiences from both urban and rural communities. Activities include literary, music and film festivals, book fairs, workshops, reading sessions, exhibitions and literary awards.
About 500 people attended the opening ceremony of the World Book Capital event held at Centennial Hall which was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2006 for its pioneering work of modern engineering and architecture in the early 20th century.
On this occasion, Mr Eric Falt, Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information at UNESCO presented to the Mayor of Wroclaw, Mr Rafal Dutkiewicz, a new trophy created by Artist for Peace Hedva Ser, representing the pages of a book caught by the wind in a fight for freedom. This new emblem, embodying the values of the World Book Capital progrmme will be passed on every year to the next city awarded the title of World Book Capital.
During the dazzling ceremony, other important announcements were made, one of them being the designation of Ms Vera Michalski-Hoffmann (Switzerland) as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, thereby recognizing her lifelong commitment towards literary creation and her outstanding work as the President of the Foundation Jan Michalski for Writing and Literature. Ms Michalski-Hoffman’s will work in particular around the theme of books and reading in relation with World Book and Copyright Day and World Book Capital.
Concluding his presentation, Mr Falt congratulated Wroclaw and invited the city and entire international community to join together to celebrate books “as the embodiment of creativity, the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding, dialogue and tolerance.”
More information about World Book Capital 2016 events is available on the official webpage:http://en.unesco.org/world-book-capital-city