Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Cities of Literature

I was planning a long and involved entry about cities of literature, but I've run out of steam, so here's the classic "I'm being lazy" blog post - yes, it's LIST TIME.

Top Five UNESCO Cities of Literature that Andrew should go to!

1. Prague, Czech Republic: Yes, I was just there. I already want to go back and explore more. It's one of the most beautiful and vibrant city that I've ever seen, which possibly means that I still need to explore more, but nonetheless an awesome city - even if the only Czech writers I can name off the top of my head are Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera and Vaclav Havel.

2. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: The original UNESCO City of Literature, I'd be content for any Scottish lass to read to me out loud, and I'd be weak at the knees. Plus it's the home of the Edinburgh Fringe - another of the world's great cultural festivals that I must experience!

3. Dublin, Ireland: I've lived this long without yet visiting the country of my national ethnic heritage on my Father's side, and would love nothing more than to spend a few weeks cycling around the Emerald Isle, with maybe the exception of experiencing Bloomsday in Dublin.

4. Reykjavik, Iceland: This is a place where, due to its isolation, the language has more or less remained the same since the days of the Vikings. This kinda excites me, especially as somebody who studied Old Norse back in my uni days. Plus runes are cool.

5. Melbourne, Australia: Yes, it's my home town. If it weren't for the literary culture of this place, I certainly wouldn't be the person I am today, and for that I'm grateful. Living in Melbourne, I feel spoilt for having access to countless literary programs every week, whether they be at the State Library or Wheeler Centre, or through events such as the Melbourne Writers Festival and the Emerging Writers Festival. There are countless indie bookstores that have seen Borders come and go, and a thriving indie literary scene through zines, performance poetry, and small press publishing. I do miss it, and will inevitably return, I'm sure.

Of course, I still want to visit some of the other cities of literature. Granada would be amazing for its medieval history. Admittedly, I'm more interested in Krakow for the swing dancing, and I'm more likely to visit Oxford and Stratford-Upon-Avon than Norwich. When I think Heidelberg, I'm more likely to think of Australia's impressionist art movement, and Iowa City is pretty low on my list of must-visit places in the US (but it is there - possibly at the bottom).

And Dunedin? I've always been fascinated with this place, even as an Australian child, looking at a map of the world, and wondering how cold it is there. In fact, let me check just now... *googles* Yup, it's zero degrees. That's what I thought.