Photographer: Lo Birgersson

The UNESCO bid

Gothenburg’s application stems from the initiative of a plethora of our city´s literary stakeholders. No less than 300 organisations, institutes, entrepreneurs, NGOs and writers were engaged during the application process, a testament to the significant role that literature has in Gothenburg.

The application is formally endorsed by the regional authority of Västra Götaland and the University of Gothenburg, confirming the well-established spirit of cooperation in our region as well as the long-term organizational and economic commitment to fulfil the goals that are set in our application.

Improving reading and writing capabilities in early ages as a mean for promoting social equality, widening the participation in cultural activities and enhancing the freedom of expression and media awareness are some of the key actions that we propose to implement and disseminate through our Action plan. Our ambition is to develop literature in our city as a driving force for sustainable urban development with focus on democratic values, equality and multilingualism.

We are grateful for the support we have received through this process. The guidance of Nottingham City of Literature, Östersund City of Gastronomy and our mentor city, Durban City of Literature, has especially contributed to the success of our efforts.

It is with great pleasure that we take part of the Unesco Creative Cities Network in the field of Literature. We are deeply convinced that Gothenburg has both the will and capacity to contribute to the Network´s vision and objectives.

/City of Gothenburg, University of Gothenburg. Region Västra Götaland, Writers’ Centre West, Gothenburg Book Fair, Gothenburg House of Literature and Angereds bokmässa, with support from Swedish PEN, Swedish Writers’ Union, Conference of International Book Fair Directors, Swedish Library Association, West Sweden Chamber of Commerce, Göteborg & Co, Business Region Göteborg, Consortium of Masthuggskajen and Poesiwerken.

Gothenburg’s bid document

Gothenburg's application provides an overall picture of the literary field in the city and surrounding region. It is a literary ecosystem with driven actors who in various ways produce, disseminate and stimulate literature and reading in Gothenburg. Their efforts contribute to social sustainability and an attractive city.

The bid document is available here:

On-going research project – following a unique application process

The University of Gothenburg and the University of Borås are collaborating on the on-going evaluation and analysis of Gothenburg's application to become a UNESCO City of Literature. The on-going research project will primarily implement three different research methods: participant observations, interviews with participants of the process and a thorough study of the material that formed the basis of the application. The subsequent analysis will be interdisciplinary, and theories from library and information science as well as cultural science will be implemented.