UNESCO Cities of Literature celebrate World Poetry Day 2024

Keira Brown
Communications Executive
Edinburgh City of Literature Trust

18 March 2024

World Poetry Day 2024 is marked with the Dawn of Poetic Spring

World Poetry Day, which takes place on 21st March each year, promotes poetry and its power to speak to our common humanity and our shared values, and for building sustainable and inclusive societies. This work is led by Granada City of Literature, who, in 2024, have chosen the theme ‘the dawn of poetic spring,’ whilst also celebrating 10 years as a UNESCO City of Literature. 19 Cities of Literature, including Edinburgh, are running celebrations for World Poetry Day 2024. Other Cities of Literature around the world will share these initiatives, inviting their communities to join in and celebrate poetry in all its forms.

There are a range of activities taking place across the global Cities of Literature network to celebrate World Poetry Day including Granada’s celebrations. These will commence with an opening ceremony at the City Hall central court, with the attendance of the City Mayor and other authorities from the cultural sphere where three poets will perform readings, together with a guest poet from Nanjing UNESCO City of Literature, Mr. YU Bang. This will be followed by 80 poets reading from 5-9pm in one of the faculties of the University of Granada and fourteen city bookstores. Additionally, they will celebrate a long-running Poetry Slam in Granada at one of the University venues, in which 10 poets will compete to win by public vote.

Edinburgh City of Literature will push the message of World Poetry Day through the libraries in the city. Many will be hosting readings with young and older audiences – Craigmillar Library will be hosting a workshop for adolescents to write their own haiku and acrostic poems, Stockbridge Library will have a display of poetry collections, Kirkliston and South Queensferry will have a family reading of poetry and the Scottish Poetry Library will be announcing the names of 20 new poets being added to their Online Guide to Scottish Poets. Napier University are celebrating World Poetry Day by launching a global science poetry competition (find out more here) and Edinburgh International Book Festival have a great archive of poetry events that are available to re-watch over on their website on World Poetry Day.

UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature use creativity and culture to promote the social, economic and cultural development of their cities. In these times of global uncertainty, the network continues to connect literary communities across the world, forging bonds through the power of books, words and ideas. To find out more about the Cities of Literature network, you can find out more over on the website here.