Latest UpdatesNewsIndiaKozhikode: India's First UNESCO 'City of Literature'

Kozhikode: India’s First UNESCO ‘City of Literature’

Kozhikode, a city rich in cultural heritage located in north Kerala, has been officially declared India’s first UNESCO ‘City of Literature’. This prestigious recognition was announced on June 23, marking a significant milestone for the city renowned for its literary history and contributions.

In October 2023, Kozhikode was inducted into the ‘Literature’ category of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). This achievement places Kozhikode among the world’s leading cities recognized for their commitment to literature and creativity. As part of the celebrations, the state government has declared that June 23 will henceforth be celebrated annually as the ‘City of Literature’ Day in Kozhikode.

Celebrating Literary Heritage

To commemorate this honor, special awards will be announced in six categories each year on June 23. During the inaugural celebration, Tourism Minister P A Mohammed Riyas unveiled the official ‘City of Literature’ logo by UNESCO. The event also included a visit to the house of Jnanpith awardee M T Vasudevan Nair, where the Diamond Jubilee award, instituted by the Kozhikode city corporation, was presented to him.

A Hub of Literary Greats

Kozhikode has a long and storied history as a literary hub. It was once known as the city of Zamorins and later as Calicut during British rule, serving as a gateway for many foreign traders, including Persians, Arabs, Chinese, and Europeans. This historical confluence of cultures has contributed to the city’s rich literary and cultural landscape.

The city is celebrated for its literary giants like the late S K Pottakkad and Vaikom Muhammed Basheer. It has been a cradle of the freedom movement in Kerala and a prominent destination for book festivals for many decades. Today, Kozhikode boasts over 500 functioning libraries and has been the base of legendary Malayalam writer M T Vasudevan Nair for several decades.

Joining the Global Literary Network

Kozhikode’s inclusion in the UCCN is part of a larger recognition by UNESCO, which acknowledges cities for their strong commitment to harnessing culture and creativity as part of their development strategies. The UCCN now includes 350 cities across more than 100 countries, representing seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music.

Gwalior, another Indian city, also joined the UCCN in the ‘Music’ category. The new additions to the network were announced on World Cities Day, October 31, and include other notable cities such as Bukhara for Crafts and Folk Art, Casablanca for Media Arts, Chongqing for Design, Kathmandu for Film, Rio de Janeiro for Literature, and Ulaanbaatar for Crafts and Folk Art.

Looking Ahead

The newly designated Creative Cities, including Kozhikode, are invited to participate in the 2024 UCCN Annual Conference scheduled for July 1-5, 2024, in Braga, Portugal. The conference will focus on the theme ‘Bringing Youth to the Table for the Next Decade’, highlighting the importance of engaging younger generations in the cultural and creative development of cities.

Kozhikode’s recognition as a UNESCO ‘City of Literature’ not only honors its past but also sets the stage for a vibrant future in literary and cultural endeavors, further solidifying its place on the global map as a center of creativity and literary excellence.

Published at :

Follow Us on Google News for Latest, Top, Trending, and Viral News, Photos, Videos, and Updates from Rajasthan, India and Across the World