UNESCO Cities of Literature Celebrate World Poetry Day

This year’s World Poetry Day will be again celebrated and marked worldwide by the UNESCO Cities of Literature! On March 21st Granada City of Literature within 13 sister cities highlight the important role of poetry in shaping our attitudes.

In Granada, around 60 poets will be offering a public poetry reading in 25 bookshops around the city. It will be a party in which readers and poets will join in those meeting spaces as bookshops are. The invited poets have published at least one book of poems; they live in the city of Granada; are of various ages and vocations, and they possess different aesthetic approaches. The readings will last approximately 15minutes and will take place between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm on March 21.

We hope to generate a festive and dynamic atmosphere. You will have informative brochures with routes and schedules that will allow you to choose one poet or another according to your tastes and interests. Just like last year, it will be impossible to see them all, but it’s worth to join at least one reading!

World Poetry Day is a perfect occasion to honour poets and celebrate one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression. This year we would like to particularly stress an issue related not only to poetry but also to various fields of our everyday experience – gender equality. We strongly believe that art including poetry could be a strong voice supporting women’s rights and value of their artistic work.

World Poetry Day will be highlighted across the world. Join the nearest city to celebrate with us!


The following flagship events celebrating the breadth and diversity of the UNESCO Cities’ poets are taking place across the world on 21 March:

  • Nottingham has brought together 12 talented women poets at Nottingham Trent University for a curated Facebook live performance from Clifton Campus Library. Surrounded by the books which have nourished their writing at Clifton campus library, these poets will be
    sharing poems reflecting on all stages and ages of being a woman. The Poets are:
    Panya Banjoko  Sofi Bajor  Hannah Cooper-Smithson Becky Cullen Jo Dixon Birgit Friedrich, Julie Gardner Tuesday Shannon Bridie Squires Caroline Stancer  Aly Stoneman  Lauren Terry  Victoria Zoe
  • Reykjavík will celebrate with their vibrant Impostor Poets who are a Reykjavík based poetry collective. They will invite female poets to join them for the day with poetry readings.

The Impostor poets are Fríða Ísberg, Melkorka Ólafsdóttir, Ragnheiður Harpa Leifsdóttir, Sunna Dís Másdóttir, Þóra Hjörleifsdóttir and Þórdís Helgadóttir.

  • Poetry readings will take place in several cities:
  • Ljubljana organizes a 24-hour reading of poetry in three places (0.00-8.00 Tomaž Šalamun Poetry Centre; 8.30-16.30 Trubar Literature House; 17.00-01.00 Pritličje Bar)
  • Ulyanovsk invites you to Poetry outside time and space a poetry reading in an abandoned urban space.
  • Tartu will take you on a poetry tour in the city – consecutive poetry readings at cafés and bars as well as in Tartu Public Library from noon until evening
  • In Óbidos the Local Poets Exhibition will take place – it’s a poetry book presentation made by students of Óbidos schools.
  • Milan prepares several various events in collaboration with the International Poetry Festival of Milan and Grito de Mujer-International Festival of Poetry and Art, such as: poetry meetings (Primavera de los Poetas, Alda Merini and the Corriere: poetry in the newsroom, Scream for me) and open mic.
  • In Heidelberg beside displaying poems and short texts written by 36 poets in public trams over the whole year, a special tramline will be taking passengers on a poetic journey between the UNESCO Creative Cities of Heidelberg (Literature) and Mannheim (Music).

Moreover, the Heidelberg House in Heidelberg´s French twin city Montpellier will be presenting a poetic evening in French and German language. Organized the Department of Cultural Affairs, Heidelberg´s neighbor city Mannheim is adding several public events more to the poetic program of this day: Poetic walking tours, a poetry phone line, a temporary wall full of poetry and much more.

  • Kraków offers a few poetic activities: the literary walk in the footsteps of Wisława Szymborska; Slam Poetry Event – Kraków’s elimination to the national championships; The announcement of the idea and first guests of the Miłosz Poetry Festival and – to extend the World Poetry Day – on March 23rd an authors meeting with Anna Adamowicz, a Polish young poet.
  • Barcelona invites adults for two literary meetings: with Marcel Riera and Rosa Fabregat and children to the escape room The poet’s secret room.
  • Norwich prepares a film and audio recording of our Young Norfolk Laureate Ciera Drury reading a poem she wrote to mark 100 years since the suffragette movement. It was the winning poem for our Young Norfolk Writing Competition last year.
  • Several events will take place in Bucheon including a poetry reading by KO Gyeong-suk, a female writer, making calligraphy bookmark, ‘Poetry Reading Therapy,’ a literary program at Sangdong Library.

This World Poetry Day, follow the social conversation using #WorldPoetryDay19 and (in Spain)
#Haztepoesía and experience creative and poetic moments in a City of Literature near you.


UNESCO’s City of Literature programme is part of a wider Creative Cities Network that was launched in 2004 and is currently made up of 180 UNESCO Creative Cities globally. As of 2017, the UNESCO Cities of Literature network of 28 cities represents 6 continents and 23 countries, and a combined population of over 26 million, 1250 libraries, 130 literary festivals and over 1200 bookshops. The Network is active in making the literary and creative sectors of cities thrive through the development and implementation of a shared global strategy, which aims to promote the network, share good practice, and ensure that literature reaches diverse audiences.

About World Poetry Day: World Poetry Day is on 21 March, and was first declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.

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