The city in the world

Last week I wrote about the diversity of language and culture in Oxford but if we are awarded the accolade of World Book Capital we also want to make sure that we take it out to the world. You shouldn’t actually have to come to Oxford to share in the experience. A very bright student who has been helping us with the bid (step forward, Hannah!) has already created a Google maps guide to literary Oxford linking colleges to their famous literary alumni. Click on the Brasenose pin and you find the links to, among others, the 17th-century poet and playwright John Marston and the novelists John Buchan, William Golding and Helen DeWitt. We shall be doing a lot more to promote the World Book Capital to the world. We’ll be working with our twin towns from Leiden in the Netherlands to Leon in Nicaragua  – exchange programmes that year will focus on books and reading. In OUP we have a publisher in Oxford whose reach is worldwide and will take the message to all its branches, on every continent. I sometimes think that UNESCO’s World Book Capital programme doesn’t get the wide attention it deserves – we aim to change that, and if we get it you can bet lots of people will know about it!

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