On September 1st, Krakow had the pleasure of hosting representatives from Dunedin City of Literature. The New Zealand capital of the book joined the UNESCO Creative Cities in December 20014. The delegation came to Krakow in order to learn more about the literary city, to build closer cooperation and to discuss joint promotion and projects. After three days in Krakow, the delegation, which was composed of The Polish Heritage of Otago & Southland Trust members, including Ms. Ewa Rożecka-Pollard, fell in love with our local bookshops. Justyna Jochym from the literary department at KBF took the delegation for a literary walk, presented some projects in public space, talked about our literary heritage, great writers and contemporary initiatives that have as their goal the promotion of literature and integrating the literary sector in Krakow and Poland, including the planned creation of the Literatre Forum, support for young writers, independent publishers and bookstores, as well as use of new media and technology in the promotion of reading.
Although it is only the seventh-largest city in New Zealand in terms of population, it is one of the nation’s leading cultural centres. Many influential writers have called Dunedin home. The poet Thomas Bracken, who wrote New Zealand’s national anthem “God Defend New Zealand,” lived and died there. Charles Brasch, who founded Landfall, New Zealand’s most important literary journal; Nobel Prize-nominated poet and novelist Janet Frame; and playwrights James K. Baxter and Roger Hall were associated with the city. The nephew of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns was one of Dunedin’s founders; because of this fact and the strong literary influence of Scottish immigrants to New Zealand, his statue has a prominent place in the city. David Elliot and Tania Roxborogh, prominent writers and illustrators of children’s literature, live in Dunedin. Although European influences are most strongly felt on New Zealand’s literature, contemporary literature also reflects the country’s Maori and Pacific heritage. Other aspects of cultural life are vibrant in Dunedin.