The Lit Review | 106 | Cities of Literature


Kentucky City Petitions to Become City of Literature

The city of Lexington in Kentucky is petitioning to become one of The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Cities of Literature. The city wants to join Edinburgh, Melbourne, Dublin, Reykjavík, Kraków, Heidelberg, and Prague, among others, in being recognised as a city that places literature at the core of its social, cultural and economic growth. The city seems to meet the criteria; it’s literary legacy began in 1787 when John Bradford published Kentucky’s first newspaper, which is still published today. Bradford’s press also published the first book printed in Kentucky, which was a compilation of the first session of the Kentucky legislature, in 1792. Over 100 years later, writers from Kentucky such as Robert Penn Warren and Hunter S. Thompson are gaining literary fame, proving the state’s literary output to be varied and long-standing. Kentucky also has a vast number of literary organisations and events, such as the Kentucky Women Writers’ Conference, the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference and the International Book Project, which has been sending millions of books overseas since 1966.

Three Irish Writers on Longlist for Desmond Elliott Prize

It’s little wonder that Dublin is a recognised City of Literature. Three Irish writers are in the running for the £10,000 Desmond Elliott prize for debut novels. Kit de Waal, Karl Geary (who you may recognise from his brief appearance in an episode of Sex and the City) and Alan McMonagle have all made this year’s longlist. The prize is awarded to the best English-language debut published in the UK, and has a strong record of Irish winners. Last year’s winner was Lisa McInerney’s The Glorious Heresies, and Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing took the prize in 2014. The winner will be announced in a ceremony at Fortnum & Mason later this year.


The Metamorphose Short Story competition closes on Sunday, 30th April. The competition is for science fiction/fantasy writing, with three categories and prizes for submission: novice (up to 3,000 words), initiate (up to 4,000 words) and Fabler (up to 7,500 words). To read the guidelines, rules and submit, click here.

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