Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

World Book and Copyright Day
23 April

"Our goal is clear – to encourage authors and artists and to ensure that more women and men benefit from literacy and accessible formats, because books are our most powerful forces of poverty eradication and peace building. "

Irina Bokova

children reading books

Women in a camp for internally displaced persons in North Darfur are taught to read English by volunteer teachers. UN Photo/Albert González Farran

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. In this regard, UNESCO created the World Book and Copyright Day.

World Book Capital 2014: Port Harcourt (Nigeria)

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 city of Port Harcourt was chosen for this year “on account of the quality of its programme, in particular its focus on youth and the impact it will have on improving Nigeria’s culture of books, reading, writing and publishing to improve literacy rates,” according to the Selection Committee.

UN Web Services Section, Department of Public Information, © United Nations