join the board

January 18, 2023

In 2017, Seattle was designated a UNESCO City of Literature. Seattle City of Literature is a nonprofit organization that was founded in the run-up to that designation and helps manage the designation, including local programming and relationship-building with other Cities of Literature and Creative Cities around the world.

Seattle City of Literature builds relationships and community partnerships to help creative potential meet opportunity. We connect and strengthen the local and global storytelling ecosystem and center stories rooted in traditionally marginalized communities. In our work, we integrate UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to foster an exchange of knowledge, resources, and lived experience.

Seattle City of Literature is currently adding five at-large seats to its board of directors. This is a volunteer, one-year position that will help guide Seattle’s UNESCO City of Literature designation. If you live in Seattle, support the goals of Seattle City of Literature, and would like to be considered for one of these positions, read and complete the Seattle City of Literature Community Seats Application (a Google form) by Sunday, January 31, 2023.


September 8, 2020

Seattle was designated as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2017. But long before that title became official, local writers had begun reflecting on what it would mean to the citizens and the character of the city. They have continued to do so, and now Kristen Millares Young has collected and edited an anthology of essays by local writers, Seismic: Seattle, City of Literature, to be published this month.

Read an article by Trevor Lenzmeier in The Seattle Times and an excerpt by Claudia Castro Luna in Crosscut.

The Seattle Public Library will host a virtual release party for Seismic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at 7:00pm. The event is free, but registration is required.


February 13, 2020

Five UNESCO Cities of Literature are currently accepting applications for writers in residence. Requirements vary, but most expect a connection with the culture and/or language of the country to be visited as well as residence in or connection with a UNESCO Creative City / City of Literature, such as Seattle. Application deadlines are coming up for

  • Tartu, Estonia
  • Bucheon, Korea
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Ulyanovsk, Russia

Find out more at Seattle City of Literature.

Seattle City of Lit list

December 26, 2019

Here’s a new resource, just out from Seattle City of Literature: the Seattle Lit Community Catalog. The searchable online catalog offers (to date) 180 listings from Seattle’s books and writing communities. The geographic boundaries extend somewhat beyond the city limits (Tacoma, Bellevue). (See FAQs.) Browse them all, or enter a search term (e.g., books, poetry, conference, writers, publishers, etc.). Add yours.


February 19, 2019

Seattle City of Literature has announced that applications are open for three City of Literature residencies: Kraków, Poland; Ljubljana, Slovenia; and Tartu, Estonia. Deadlines are coming right up, so read all about it and apply!

join the celebration

May 21, 2018

As we mentioned back in November, Seattle has been designated a UNESCO City of Literature. Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 7:00pm, you can join in the official celebration at the Seattle Public Library, 10th floor. The event is free, but advance registration is requested.

Read more about the City of Literature program, Seattle-specific and otherwise, in today’s issue of Crosscut.

Seattle City of Literature!

November 4, 2017

This week, UNESCO announced that 64 cities from 44 countries have been designated as UNESCO Creative Cities within seven fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. Member cities collaborate on international initiatives designed to preserve local heritage, foster cultural diversity, and promote cultural tourism.

In the announcement, Seattle was named a City of Literature, joining Baghdad, Iraq; Barcelona, Spain; Bucheon, South Korea; Dublin, Ireland; Dunedin, New Zealand;Durban, South Africa; Edinburgh, Scotland; Granada, Spain; Heidelberg, Germany; Iowa City, Iowa; Krakow, Poland; Lillehammer, Norway; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Lviv, Ukraine; Manchester, England; Melbourne, Australia; Milan, Italy; Montevideo, Uruguay; Norwich, England; Nottingham, England; Óbidos, Portugal; Prague, Czech Republic; Québec City, Canada; Reykjavik, Iceland; Tartu, Estonia; Ulyanovsk, Russia; and Utrecht, Netherlands.

To get an idea of what Seattle brings to the literary table, visit the Seattle City of Literature website, have a look at the Community Inventory, and add your name to the mailing list. Learn more about International Cities of Literature here.

Congratulations, Seattle!

another one!

March 8, 2016

Poetick in Toitu

Back in October we mentioned the Short Édition story dispenser in Grenoble, France. Now we see that a parking-ticket dispenser has been repurposed to print poems at the Toitu Otago Settlers’ Museum in Dunedin, New Zealand. Created by a group of University of Otago design students, Poetick seems an appropriate addition for this UNESCO City of Literature. At the push of a button, the machine issues one of about 20 poems. Read more in the Otago Daily Times and on the Poetick Facebook page. More of these, please!


July 24, 2015

UNESCO Cities of Literature

When we last mentioned Seattle’s bid for official UNESCO designation as a City of Literature, in February 2014, there were seven such cities and Seattle’s effort was earnest and grassroots. Still earnest, the project now has a new advisory board, a new presence on social media, a new video, and a book by Ryan Boudinot, Seattle City of Literature, scheduled for release this fall by Sasquatch Books.

More on the Seattle City of Literature website and on Facebook as Seattle waits to see if it will be selected as number 12 — a particularly auspicious designation, for which the city seems exceedingly well primed.
. . . . .

will Seattle be next?

February 12, 2014

UNESCO City of Literature

Will the Emerald City be the eighth in the world to become a UNESCO City of Literature? The Seattle City Council, led by Councilmember Nick Licata and author Ryan Boudinot, hopes so. In January, the Council voted unanimously to support the proposal. Meanwhile, Boudinot continues to seek additional endorsements for Seattle’s bid, which so far include “the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, the Academy of American Poets and Nancy Pearl,” according to a January 27, 2014, online article in The Stranger. Applications are due in March and the results will be announced in November.

Read more about the Creative Cities Network and the UNESCO City of Literature program, including details about other appointed cities.

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