Guadalajara in Mexico was named World Book Capital for the year 2022 by the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, on the recommendation of the World Book Capital Advisory Committee. The city was selected for its comprehensive plan for policies around the book to trigger social change, combat violence and build a culture of peace.
Guadalajara’s proposed programme focuses on three strategic axes: regaining public spaces through reading activities in parks and other accessible places; social bonding and cohesion especially though reading and writing workshops for children; and strengthening of neighbourhood identity using intergenerational connections, story-telling and street poetry.
The city will make use of cultural assets such as libraries, reading rooms, bookstores, independent publishing houses and its world-famous international book fair, to improve violence-prevention policies. These resources will be leveraged to advance human rights, gender equality and the culture of peace among members of the public and harness the great potential of books to contribute to social transformation.
Activities will include literary events in collaboration with Latin-American writers, an artistic project on the Tower of Babel, events linking theatre and music to literature and the use of local radio for poetry readings.
The year of celebrations will start on 23 April, 2022, on World Book and Copyright Day.
Cities designated as UNESCO World Book Capital undertake to promote books and reading and to organize activities over the year. As the twenty-second city to bear the title since 2001, Guadalajara follows Tbilisi (2021) and Kuala Lumpur (2020). Past winners include Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Anvers (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam(2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010), Buenos Aires (2011), Erevan (2012), Bangkok (2013), Port Harcourt (2014), Incheon (2015), Wroclaw (2016), Conakry (2017), Athens (2018) and Sharjah, (2019).
The application of the city of Guadalajara was accepted by an Advisory Committee, comprising representatives of the International Publisher’s Association (IPA), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the International Authors Forum (IFA) and UNESCO.