Books on glass shelves

WCCEH celebrates Exeter – UNESCO City of Literature


4 November 2019

We’re thrilled to learn that Exeter has been awarded ‘City of Literature’ status by UNESCO – the only new place in the UK to gain this prestigious status. Exeter will join 65 cities around the world as a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Centre members have been closely involved in the development of the bid, which was led by Exeter City Council and brought together people and organisations from across the city.

Exeter can lay claim to a thousand years of unbroken connection with literature, from the Exeter Book to the archives of the former poet laureate, Ted Hughes but the success of this award also lies in its recognition of the vital importance of reading, writing and storytelling in supporting and sustaining health and well-being throughout our lives. This closely resonates with our core vision: that to address today’s tough health challenges, we must engage with diverse communities to create multiple ways of sustaining health and well-being across the life course.

Mark Jackson, the Centre Director, said:

Obtaining UNESCO City of Literature status has been a wonderful process of cross-sectoral working. The steering group included members from Exeter City Council, Literature Works and Exeter Culture – among others – working alongside the Wellcome Centre. The outcome will enable us to promote literature and literacy as key pathways to improved health and well-being across the city and region, and to link creatively with overseas partners. As a Centre committed to enabling health through partnership and collaboration, we are delighted to be involved in this exciting venture‘.




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