The success of World Book and Copyright Day, launched in 1996, encouraged UNESCO to develop the concept of World Book Capital City, selecting Madrid as the Capital for 2001.
This was again a success, and so UNESCO's General Conference resolved to make the designation of a World Book Capital City an annual event.
The World Book Capital selection committee includes representatives from the International Publishers Associations (IPA-UIE), the International Booksellers Federation (IBF), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and UNESCO.
Each year this Committee attributes the title to a city which has committed itself to promote books and reading, and to highlight the vitality of literary creativity. The nomination does not imply any financial prize, but an exclusively symbolic acknowledgement of the best programme dedicated to books and reading.
To our surprise, one of Southeast Asia nation was once declared and included in the list.
Curious to know which capital it was?
.. and which capital would be next named as World Book Capital City?
New Delhi (2003)
Buenos Aires (2011)
Bangkok has been designated World Book Capital 2013. The city was selected by a committee made up of representatives from the three main branches of the publishing world and UNESCO, which met at the Organization’s Paris Headquarters on 27 June.
The Committee selected Bangkok “ for its willingness to bring together all the various stakeholders in the book supply chain and beyond, actors involved in the publication chain for a range of projects proposed, for its community-focused and the high level of its commitment through the proposed activities.”
Port Harcourt (2014)
This year, the city of Athens was chosen for the quality of its activities, supported by the entire book industry. The proposed activity programme includes meetings with writers, translators and illustrators, concerts, thematic exhibitions, poetry readings and workshops for publishing professionals.
The aim of the programme is to make books accessible to the city’s entire population, including migrants and refugees. Members of the Advisory Committee also praised Athens’ cultural infrastructure and its expertise in organizing international events.
Recently, MALAYSIA has officially announced Kuala Lumpur's bid for the title in 2020.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid announced this in his speech at the world body's 39th general assembly's policy debate session.
Mahdzir, who is also the Malaysia Unesco National Commission president, told the assembly that the prestigious World Book City (WBC) status is crucial to nurturing reading habits among Malaysians.
Malaysia, which also sits on the Unesco executive board and the vice chair of the Electoral Group (IV) representing the Asia Pacific region, will continue lobbying for the WBC status in the 40th Unesco general assembly, scheduled to be held in 2019.
Source : New Straits Times and UNESCO Official website