23 April 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.

World Book Capital for 2017: Conakry, Guinea

Each year, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry - publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a one-year period, effective 23 April each year.

The selection committee singled out Conakry “on account of the quality and diversity of its programme, in particular its focus on community involvement” as well as “for its well-structured budget and clear development goals with a strong emphasis on youth and literacy.”