As a prelude to our coverage of Dublin 2019 – an Irish Worldcon, I’d like to briefly touch on Dublin’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature. Dublin received the title in 2010, only the fourth global city to do so. As the UNESCO dedication states, “the city was home to four Nobel Prize Laureates for Literature. Its literary influence has spread to the four corners of the world: Bloomsday, commemorating the life of James Joyce, is celebrated as far away as Melbourne and St Petersburg, Oscar Wilde Societies exist around the world, and one of the world’s most familiar literary characters, Dracula, was created by Irish author Bram Stoker.”
UNESCO Cities of Literature merit the title by meeting a series of criteria: quality, quantity, and diversity of publishing; education programs; an important role for literature, drama, and/or poetry in the city; literary events and festivals; libraries, bookstores, and public or private cultural centres; publishers focused on translation and foreign literature; and promotion of literature through traditional and new media. Dublin is especially well gifted with these, given the lasting influence of language and culture in shaping the modern country. And WorldCon 2019 definitely counts as a major literary event.
The Dublin UNESCO City of Literature website and office, managed out of Dublin City Libraries at 138-144 Pearse Street, serves as a hub for a year-round calendar of literary events and initiatives, as well as resources and news. For anyone lucky enough to be in Dublin and able to take advantage of these programs, it’s more than worth checking out.