Kick-off week for City of Literature with support for Ukraine

Publicerad 10 mars 2022

The first official working week of the City of Literature started with an open meeting for literary actors and the public, and a literary policy summit for industry and politicians. Readings for Ukraine was organized, with Academy member Jila Mossaed reading the Ukrainian poet Ilya Kaminsky.

The Literary Policy Summit, which brought together participants from 16 of Sweden's 21 regions, included a ceremony to mark Gothenburg's designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.  The Swedish National Commission of UNESCO presented a globe as a symbol of the international community Gothenburg is entering as a City of Literature:

- The Swedish National Commission of UNESCO is very proud that Gothenburg wants to take on this commitment. We also want to make a practical contribution to the work, so next year I will be back to organize an international seminar linking some of UNESCO's Cities of Literature," said Anna-Karin Johansson, Secretary General.

Axel Josefson, Mayor of Gothenburg, proudly accepted the gifts, on behalf of the City of Gothenburg and all partners in the private and public sectors, civil society and academia.

- It is a great honour to receive this appointment, but it is also a responsibility that obliges, especially in the dark times we are in now. I believe that literature, Gothenburg and our partners have the opportunity to be the light in this darkness," said Axel Josefson.

Fredrika Lagergren Wahlin, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gothenburg, sees opportunities to deepen collaboration on literature through the designation as City of Literature. 

This is a great initiative because it comes from civil society, from authors, to benefit readers. With our commitment to the City of Literature, the University of Gothenburg wants to promote something that is fundamental to democracy and sustainable development in the world. 

Conny Brännberg, Chairman of the Culture Committee of the Västra Götaland Region, concluded the Literature Policy Summit by summing up that Sweden would benefit from a national literature policy. He also highlighted support for Ukraine.

- With the work as City of Literature in mind, we have today taken an initiative to open up sanctuary opportunities in our literary residences for Ukrainian refugees, said Conny Brännberg.

The 2022 residency programme will be expanded with additional places for writers, translators and editors from Ukraine. The region is also setting up a cultural journal residency, so that an editorial team from Ukraine can move its activities to a cultural journal in West Sweden.

The launch week was an initiative of all the main partners in Gothenburg City of Literature: City of Gothenburg, University of Gothenburg, Region Västra Götaland, Writers' Centre West, Göteborg Book Fair and the Gothenburg House of Literature. The organizers of the Open Meeting were Gothenburg House of Literature and City of Gothenburg. The organizers of the Literary Policy Summit were Region Västra Götaland and Göteborg Book Fair.