Strasbourg wants to become “World Book Capital” by 2024

The city of Strasbourg formalized, on Friday April 22, its candidacy for the Unesco label “World Book Capital” for 2024. This project, called “Reading our world”, consists of 5 transversal axes, 25 programs and nearly 200 shares in total. A dozen cities are in the running, but the names have not been revealed. The world book capital of 2024 will be designated next summer.

The “Reading Our World” project wants to “ value each individual in their cultural and linguistic richness, their sensitive experience and their critical spirit “. It is a project” unifier that has brought together the enthusiasm of all the book actors in Strasbourg and the Eurometropolis, media libraries, bookshops, authors, schools… “, he explains to Weekly Books Jeanne Baregian, mayor of Strasbourg, present at the Paris book festival. The candidature project places special emphasis on the fight against illiteracy. The project of the winning city for this year 2022, Guadalajara (Mexico), is for example focused on the fight against crime.

13 million French people with reading difficulties

The project proposed by the city of Strasbourg thus recalls that France has 13 million people with reading difficulties, 15% of whom are young people entering secondary school. And regardless of the results of this application, the municipality has 4.5 million euros for the next three years to launch a program of ” better identify the obstacles to access reading thanks to », details the mayor of the EELV of Strasbourg. The project aims to act to bridge this social and cultural gap and have a strong and lasting impact by targeting children and young people, adults who are illiterate, learning French or in a precarious socioeconomic situation.

“Reading our world” has also been part of the municipal project of the city of Strasbourg since its installation in 2020. It is built across the board, articulated around the issue of democracy (“Strasbourg, city of crossroads and debate”). , that of the collective imaginary that the book can build (“Strasbourg, creative and poetic city”). But also around the humanist dimension of culture and reading (“Strasbourg, city of refuge”), ecological issues (“Strasbourg, emancipatory and ecological city”) and those related to childhood (“Strasbourg, city friendly to children”).

Jeanne Barseghian believes that her municipal team’s project is proof that the capital of the Grand Est region ” it is a hospitable, intercultural and multilingual city, quite the opposite of closing in on oneself “, adding that” reading is also fighting extremism “. Several authors have shown their interest in sponsoring the “Reading Our World” project: Hélène Cixous, Metin Arditi, Philippe Claudel, Velibor Colicjournalist and essayist Oliver Guez and cartoonist blutch.

If Strasbourg is designated, it will be the first French city to be “World Book Capital” as the creation of the label has existed since 2001.

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