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World Book and Copyright Day-23 April

More than 100 countries will take part on 23 April in the 13th celebration of World Book and Copyright Day,* proclaimed by UNESCO in 1996. Publishers, book shops, libraries, schools, cultural institutions and authors’ societies from all over the world have undertaken to celebrate the Day and promote the enduring importance of books.

In 2008, proclaimed International Year of Languages by the General Assembly of the United Nations, UNESCO wishes to emphasize the linguistic aspect of publishing: “When a language has no access to the world of publishing, it is excluded – together with those who speak it – from a significant part of the intellectual life and economic activity of society,” declared the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura in a message on the occasion of this celebration. “In this context, it is then a matter of urgency to give languages broader access to publishing, so as to promote the exchange of books and editorial content.”On 23 April, Amsterdam will succeed Bogotá as World Book Capital City, in keeping with an initiative launched by UNESCO in 2001. The Netherlands’ capital is planning to hold a wide range of events of international scope throughout the year including: conferences on copyright, scientific publishing, interculturality in literary creation, and children’s books. New libraries and cultural centres will be opened, and seminars will be held alongside artistic and festive events such as a costume parade of characters from youth literature.

The following cities have been designated World Book Capital to date: Madrid (Spain, 2001), Alexandria (Egypt, 2002), New Delhi (India, 2003), Antwerp (Belgium, 2004), Montreal (Canada, 2005), Turin (Italy, 2006) and Bogotá (Colombia, 2007). Beirut will be World Book Capital City in 2009, while the 2010 capital will be elected in June from among the following candidates: Guadalajara (Mexico), Lisbon (Portugal), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Riga (Latvia), Saint Petersburg (Russian Federation), Vienna (Austria) and Wellington (New Zealand). The selection committee consists of representatives of the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Booksellers Federation (IBF), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and UNESCO.

* On the 23rd of April 1616 the writers Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died.

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