The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced the selection of the French city of Strasbourg as the World Book Capital (WBC) for the year 2024, based on the recommendation of the United Nations Advisory Committee.
The selection of Strasbourg as WBC came after the Mexican city of Guadalajara for the current year 2022 and the capital of Ghana Accra, for next year 2023.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, said in a press statement, that books have the unique dual capacity to both entertain and provide guidance. She explained that in difficult times, many turn to books in search of refuge and a source of dreams.
UNESCO and the Advisory Committee of the World Book Capital commended Strasbourg’s focus on books as a means of addressing the challenges of social cohesion and climate change, through programs such as “Read for the Planet” as well as its interest in its literary heritage and its projects that seek to combine literature with other artistic forms. Strasbourg emphasizes books’ ability to encourage debate and discussion of environmental concerns and scientific knowledge, focusing on young people as agents of change.
Strasbourg was commended for its literary heritage and the activities it organized highlighting many artistic disciplines, from music, to theatre and illustration. The city has significant experience of organising large-scale outward-looking events.
Additionally, celebrations and activities of the Strasbourg WBC 2024 will kick off on April 23, 2024, coinciding with World Book and Copyright Day.
It is worth noting that cities designated as World Book Capitals by UNESCO undertake to promote books and reading for all ages and groups within and without national borders, and to organize a programme of activities.
Cities designated as UNESCO World Book Capital undertake to promote books and reading for all ages and groups, within and across national borders, and to organize a programme of activities for the year.
As the twenty-fourth city to bear the title since 2001, Strasbourg follows Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010), Buenos Aires (2011), Erevan (2012), Bangkok (2013), Port Harcourt (2014), Incheon (2015), Wroclaw (2016), Conakry (2017), Athens (2018), Sharjah, (2019), Kuala Lumpur (2020), Tbilisi (2021), Guadalajara (2022) and Accra (2023).
The UNESCO World Book Capital Advisory Committee comprises representatives of European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), the International Authors Forum (IAF), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the International Publishers Association (IPA), and UNESCO.