Athens has been named World Book Capital 2018 by the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee, comprising representatives of the IPA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and UNESCO, which met at UNESCO headquarters, in Paris.

The Greek capital was chosen because of the outstanding quality of its programme of activities supported by all actors of the ‘book chain’. The activities proposed during Athens’ tenure as World Book Capital include meetings with authors, translators and illustrators, concerts, themed exhibitions, poetry readings and workshops for publishing professionals.

IPA President Richard Charkin said: ‘Ever since my predecessor, Pere Vicens, proposed the idea for World Book Capital in 1996, it has been about celebrating and promoting literacy and reading culture. Our warmest congratulations go to Athens, which put in a fantastic bid this year. This ancient city naturally corresponds with the values of the World Book Capital initiative, and I am sure will deliver an outstanding programme in 2018.’

The goal of the initiative is to make books and reading accessible to the whole population, including migrants and refugees. The wealth of cultural infrastructure and Athens’ proven expertise in organizing international events were also highlighted by the Advisory Committee.

Every year, the city named World Book Capital commits to promote books and reading and to implement a programme of activities for one year, starting on World Book and Copyright Day, on 23 April.

Athens is the 18th city to be named World Book Capital, after Madrid (2001); Alexandria (2002); New Delhi (2003); Antwerp (2004); Montreal (2005); Turin (2006); Bogota (2007); Amsterdam (2008); Beirut (2009); Ljubljana (2010); Buenos Aires (2011); Yerevan (2012); Bangkok (2013); Port Harcourt (2014); Incheon (2015); Wroclaw (2016); and Conakry (2017 ).

In addition, UNESCO, the IPA and IFLA have now opened the call for WBCC nominations for 2019.

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