Telling stories and writing or reading literature in a minority language is in our blood. Language and literature were also important parts of the LF2018 programme. We’d like to convert this into a long-term goal and intertwine it with our future plans and policy so future generations can also reap the benefits. As a UNESCO City of Literature, Leeuwarden and Friesland aim to invest in:
- the literary climate;
- social inclusiveness, for example combating low literacy skills and promoting multilingualism;
This is the path to creating an open and inclusive literary community. It’s motivating us to push our limits: from literature in a minority language to multilingual, accessible literature.
Designating Leeuwarden as a UNESCO City of Literature will open international doors to:
- international collaborations, a new perspective on ourselves and our history, and the embracing of our multilingual inhabitants;
- new platforms for the revaluation of literature in minority languages;
- opportunities to share expertise in opening up minority languages to other cities in the network;
- coordination of exchanges (projects, writers and translators) between the different cities, independent of existing residency programmes;
- making Leeuwarden/Friesland visible within an ambitious international network.
At the local level, we will be in a better position to:
- overcome language barriers through literary and other translation;
- involve those with low literacy skills in literature and language experiences;
- support the professionalisation of writers and translators;
- exploit literature for urban renewal and tourism.
By opening up a language (every language!) to others, we will ensure that:
- everyone feels seen and heard;
- every identity closely related to language and literature is given a voice;
- we share and reinforce the messages of writers: those people who can put progressive ideas, new concepts and identity into words.