June 23, 2021

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World Book and Copyright Day celebrates the “fundamental importance” of literature – Global Issues

United Nations Envoy - Global Issues


For this year’s edition of World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay encouraged everyone “to grab a book, start leafing through its pages and get a breath of fresh air, which it will help support you now and in the future. ”

The power we need now

He noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people turn to reading to help them escape the block and cope with anxiety.

“It is the power of books that we all need right now, as we are reminded of the fundamental importance of literature – as well as the arts – in our lives.”

The books are unique because they have the ability to both entertain and teach, Ms. Azoulay said.

“They are a means of exploring realms beyond our personal experience through exposure to different authors, ideas and cultures,” he said. “They are a means to access the deepest places of our mind. Page after page, the books illuminate a path to take, not bound by time or boundaries. In other words, books give us freedom. ”

Protect the literary professions

World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated annually on April 23, marking the deaths of writers William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

Ms. Azoulay said that while the Day honors authors “whose works have captivated our imaginations for centuries,” it also pays tribute to all professions associated with books, namely, editing, translating, publishing and selling books.

“These fields allow us to spread our literary heritage, to allow the expression of new ideas and to allow the dissemination of stories,” he explained.

“These professions must be protected and their value recognized. This is all the more relevant in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which represents a profound and lasting threat to culture. ”

Reading: a refuge for all

The UNESCO head pointed out the unique skills the books have, both for entertaining and for teaching.

“They are a means of exploring realms beyond our personal experience through exposure to different authors, ideas and cultures,” he said. “They are a means to access the deepest places of our mind. Page after page, the books illuminate a path to take, not bound by time or boundaries. In other words, books give us freedom. ”

Ms. Azoulay stressed that the power of books must be fully exploited. “We need to ensure their access so that everyone can take refuge in reading and, in doing so, be able to dream, learn and reflect,” he said.

UNESCO has designated Tbilisi, Georgia, as the 2021 Book Capital of the World. The city was chosen for its focus on the use of modern technologies to promote reading among young people, including through a program that transforms books in digital games, thus ensuring access for all.