The Andalusian city of Granada became a UNESCO City of Literature in 2014, along with Dunedin, Heidelberg and Prague. A true meeting place of cultures, it can boast of a rich cultural legacy that includes literature.
Granada is teeming with cultural life. It has the first interactive science museum in Spain, the Granada Science Park. The Archaeological Museum features many Iberian, Roman, Phoenician and Arab artefacts, reflecting Granada’s multicultural heritage. The city also features international festivals devoted to jazz, tango and film, among other things.
Granada’s diverse cultural heritage is reflected in its literary traditions. The Alhambra castle complex is composed of many stones with poetry or verses from the Koran, making it the largest such structure in the world. The city has a centuries-old rich tradition of poetry, and the most important poet associated with the city was Federico Garcia Lorca, killed during the Spanish Civil War, also a playwright and theatre director. American writer Washington Irving Tales of the Alhambra in Granada, where he briefly lived. Among contemporary writers, Salman Rushdie, Jose Luis Gastón Morata and Francisco Nieva have also set their works there.
Several highly influential literary festivals call Granada home. Since 2007, Granada and Hay-on-Wye, Wales, have be the hosts of the Hay Festival Alhambra, an international literature festival that has sold out all its tickets and that has attracted such prominent writers as Umberto Eco and Orhan Pamuk. The Festival Internacional de Poesía de Granada is Spain’s most important poetry festival and has hosted the likes of Mario Vargas Llosa and Derek Walcott. It partners up with several cities across Europe and Latin America. Granada also features several literary walks, including those devoted to the literary heritage of Alhambra and to Federico Garcia Lorca. The FicZone festival is devoted to Japanese manga and anime, while the Salón Internacional del Cómic de Granada attracts prominent comic book artists from around the world.
The creative industries are one of the most dynamic sectors of Granada’s economy, and Granada is one of the leading centres of the publishing industry in southern Spain. The University of Granada’s Editorial Universitaria is one of Spain’s leading academic publishers. Valparaiso Ediciones is dedicated to promoting “emerging voices” in the Hispanic world. Meanwhile, one of Granada’s newest publishers, Esdrújula Ediciones, is dedicated to promoting both contemporary and classical prose.
In total, Granada is home to 76 bookstores. Granada’s annual Book Fair is the largest in Andalusia. Libreria Picasso and Libreria Babel are leading commercial bookstores. Tienda Librería de la Alhambra is of interest to tourists, as it features many tour guides and books about Islamic art. Libreria Praga is a leading second hand book shop. Meanwhile, Libreria Metro is Granada’s prime English-language bookstore.
The University of Granada has a total of 21 branches spread out across the city. The Centro de Lenguas Modernas is dedicated to educational purposes and teaching Spanish language and culture. In particular, it has an impressive collection related to Spanish film. The Granada Public Library also features an extensive collection of books and media.
The Granada city council gives out the Federico Garcia Lorca Poetry Prize, the richest in the Spanish-speaking world and one of the most important internationally. Its laureates are published in the Granada Literaria. Granada’s city council also hosts the “New Creators” poetry contest. Albolote, part of the Granada metropolitan area, awards the Antonio Carvajal Award for Youth Poetry. Meanwhile, the University of Granada gives the Francisco Ayala Award for translation.
A university town, Granada’s academic milieu is active in various public literacy campaigns. The University of Granada’s Humanities Faculty, and its Cátedra Federico Garcia Lorca in particular, promote many events encouraging readership year-round. Since 2006, Andalusia’s local government has undertaken an ambitious initiative aimed at boosting readership in schools.
Also due to the city’s academic nature, Granada has no shortage of programmes in literary education. The University of Granada offers a degree programme in English Literature & Creative Writing. Its cultural centre has a creative writing group that puts out the literary journal Literántropos. The Cambridge Writers Workshop has offered a writers retreat in Granada.Gran