Monday, 10. 8. 2009

Ljubljana named unesco world book capital 2010

In 2010 the title of 'World Book Capital' is to be carried by Ljubljana, it was announced on Wednesday, 18 June 2009, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

Ljubljana, which put its name forward for the first time, won the award against stiff competition from Vienna, Lisbon, St. Petersburg, Riga, Guadalajara and Wellington.

Mayor Zoran Janković expressed his delight that Ljubljana had succeeded despite strong competition, and congratulated the Head of the City's Department of Culture Dr Uroš Grilc for a job well done, as well as all Ljubljana’s citizens. The commission selected the city of Ljubljana "for the quality of its application as well as for its diverse and complete programme, widely and enthusiastically supported by all players involved in the book industry (publishers, bookstores and libraries)”. UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement that he was delighted “to see this magnificent city acknowledged for its collective commitment to promote books and reading in a context of freedom of expression and cultural openness”.

Dr Grilc stressed that the award was a major success, with which Ljubljana opens its own global story. “The news surprised us just a little, above all as this was the first time that seven cities had been candidates, among which most were very strong bids; the Commission also admitted at the announcement ceremony that they had had an exceptionally difficult task to perform” he said, and went on “The programme with which Ljubljana made its bid is very diverse, from the promotion of literature and authors, books and reading, to promoting access to books and addresses all sections of society. The basic starting point was to include and connect all the links in the book chain, which the committee also emphasised”.

Ljubljana is the tenth city to be designated World Book Capital - via which UNESCO seeks most of all to bring literature closer to a broader public and stimulate reading - after Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogotá (2007), Amsterdam (2008) and Beirut (2009).

This year, the Selection Committee was made up of José M. Gomez, representing the International Publishers Association (IPA), Françoise Dubruille, representing the International Booksellers Federation (IBF) and Peter Lor, representing the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

The designation of a city as World Book Capital is for the 12 months between the two celebrations of World Book Day, 23 April. The prize brings no financial reward, but is an honourable recognition for hard work in the field of reading culture.