This is great news for all inhabitants, readers and lovers of literary Krakow. After months of work, the www.miastoliteratury.pl interactive multimedia portal Krakow City of Literature is up and running; its aim is to present its colourful history, numerous institutions and festivals as well as daily literary events. The portal is modelled on similar websites of the UNESCO Cities of Literature. It will be filled with contents in Polish and English on a current basis. You will find information about publishing traditions of Krakow, its most important libraries, literary institutions, writers associated with Krakow and, finally, on the most important events: festivals, poetic meetings, literary street art and films inspired by literature.
‘We have created a portal that will be a source of information about literary Krakow for persons who would like to find a multitude and diversity of initiatives in one place. The Krakow City of Literature portal will be regularly supplemented with knowledge about diverse aspects of the literary life of the city. It will form a natural supplement to the Reading Małopolska portal, the aim of which was to communicate the literary diversity of the region,’ says Izabela Helbin, Director of the Krakow Festival Office. ‘On this website we also want to show projects that fulfil the mission of the UNESCO Cities of Literature, where literature becomes the pillar of not only artistic, but also economic development. It is another step towards the fulfilment of objectives connected with Krakow’s efforts to obtain this prestigious title,’ says Izabela Helbin.
Until now, Krakow has not had any similar web page. Information about the literary life of the city was dispersed on websites of various institutions, universities and publishers. In the newly created portal, the Krakow Festival Office wants to show the climate of the spiritual literary capital of Poland – the European City of Culture in 2000, which has been aspiring to the title of a UNESCO City of Literature since 2010. On the basis of properly elaborated information, the portal is aimed at showing the strong impact of Krakow as the centre of Polish literature and an important centre of European literature, a city of culture with a huge potential, a rich base of talents and large resources of creative energy.
‘I am happy that a base of knowledge about literary Krakow is being created. This is another important step in the fulfilment of our obligations towards the literary circles of Krakow, but also the fulfilment of UNESCO’s guidelines’, explains Magdalena Sroka, Deputy Mayor of the City of Krakow for Culture and City Promotion. She goes on to add: ‘Together with the inhabitants of Krakow and its literary circles, we think that the acquisition of the prestigious title of UNESCO City of Literature is a proper enhancement of the importance of Krakow for Polish and world literature and is profoundly justified by the centuries-old traditions of the city. On the basis of this belief, we build important programs supporting the diversity and richness of the literary initiatives in Krakow. In making efforts to obtain the title, we believe that literature can contribute to the improvement of social cohesion, stimulate economic growth and the development of creative industries and have a significant impact on intercultural dialogue.’
The Krakow City of Literature portal will accumulate the most important information in one place and indicate the direction of the city’s development in the field of literature. As the aim of the portal is to communicate literary Krakow in the network of similar cities, it must be a user-friendly guide to the diverse and often complicated literary life of Krakow.
The www.miastoliteratury.pl portal will be a continuously updated compendium of knowledge about literary Krakow: its most important writers, most famous books, exceptional publications, cult bookshops, libraries with a unique atmosphere, literary cafés, poetic meetings and the hospitability of Krakow inhabitants towards men of letters. Therefore, the creators of the portal also request readers to submit notes concerning literary institutions, events, writers, publishing houses or literary places to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the Krakow City of Literature program, the Krakow Festival Office, as the entity responsible for co-ordination of efforts to obtain the title of City of Literature, promotes the literary image of Krakow. It organises two large literary festivals (an annual Conrad Festival and a biennial Czesław Miłosz Festival), engages in initiatives of publishing houses which have their offices in Krakow, cooperates closely with the Book Fair and supports all initiatives aimed at making the residents of Krakow and tourists familiar with literature. Apart from that, within the scope of the Reading Małopolska program, the Krakow Festival Office carries out a number of promotional activities aimed at emphasising the literary potential of the region. The www.readingmalopolska.pl interactive multimedia portal is a compendium of knowledge about literary attractions of the region. Within the past year alone, the Krakow Festival Office has also organised two large international conferences which drew the greatest figures of the literary world to Krakow, including representatives of UNESCO Cities of Literature, PEN International and ICORN. For more than a year, in co-operation with Bookeriada.pl, the Krakow Festival Office has organised The Second Life of a Book – a free book swap campaign that has gained the recognition of readers and attracts hundreds of reading fans every month. In addition, the Krakow Festival Office runs series of literary workshops for children, records a series of interviews with the greatest writers living in Krakow or visiting it on the occasion of international festivals and inspires the creation of literary murals and installations in urban space. It also conducts a series of campaigns promoting bestsellers of Krakow publishing houses, promoting new forms of reading and reaching new recipients (Virtual Library of Publishers campaign using QR codes for mobile equipment and e-books).
The www.miastoliteratury.pl portal is one of the parts of the Krakow City of Literature program funded partially from the resources of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage – a social & promotional campaign aimed at making use of the power of the brand of literary Krakow in the promotion of reading attitudes and Polish literature.