April 23rd is a symbolic date for world literature. It is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.
It was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those, who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity. With this in mind, UNESCO created the World Book and Copyright Day.
— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO
World Book Capital for 2018: Athens, Greece
Each year, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry – publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capitalfor a one-year period, effective 23 April each year.
The city of Athens was chosen for the quality of its activities, supported by the entire book industry. The aim is to make books accessible to the city’s entire population, including migrants and refugees.