UNESCO City of Literature: Dublin

Dublin was designated a UNESCO City of Literature on the 26th of July, 2010 in recognition of its cultural profile and international standing as a city of literary excellence. Dublin is one of four cities in the world with the UNESCO City of Literature designation. The other cities are Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa City.

A management group led by Dublin City Council’s library service made the application to UNESCO in 2009, in partnership with representatives from literary-related organisations as well as culture, arts, tourism, government, media and educational institutions throughout the country. The designation of Dublin as City of Literature is a major achievement for both the city and country; it acknowledges the importance of Dublin’s literary heritage and also the national and international acclaim of the works of Dublin writers of in all literature genres.

Numerous Dublin-based writers have achieved international popularity and many have also received prestigious awards. Four writers associated with Dublin have received the Nobel Prize for Literature, including Seamus Heaney, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw and W.B. Yeats. The Man Booker Prize has also been awarded to four Dublin-based writers, including Iris Murdoch, Roddy Doyle, John Banville and Anne Enright. Other international awards have been received by Colum McCann, who won the 2009 U.S. National Book Award, and Sebastian Barry, who received both the 2008 Costa Book of the Year Award and the 2008 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. Other Dublin writers, both past and present, who are internationally renowned include: Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Lady Gregory, James Joyce, Eugene O'Brien, Sean O’Casey, J.M. Synge, Eavan Boland, Cardinal Newman, Flann O’Brien, John McGahern, Jennifer Johnston, Brendan Behan, and Maeve Binchy.