Québec City, Canada

Québec City became the 27th UNESCO City of Literature in October 2017, on the same day as Bucheon (South Korea), Durban (South Africa), Lillehammer (Norway), Milan (Italy), Utrecht (Netherlands), Manchester (UK) and Seattle (USA) joined the existing 20 Cities of Literature in the Creative Cities Network.

Québec City is the oldest French-speaking city in North America, with a population of 532,000. As Québec’s second largest city, and its capital, it is known worldwide for its rich history, breathtaking scenery, and cultural life. Since 1985 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its literature reflecting its Francophone, Anglophone and Aboriginal Heritage.

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The first French-Canadian novel, The Influence of a Book by Philippe Aubert de Gaspe fils (1837), was published in Québec city, whilst the Québec Gazette newspaper was founded there by William Brown in 1764. To this day, The Literary and Historical Society of Québec (1824) and The Canadian Institute of Québec (1848), one of the oldest Canadian cultural organizations, still play an essential role in literary life.

The city is now home to 200 authors and over 100 organisations, publishers, and booksellers, each of them playing a part in the literary revival in Québec. The twenty publishing houses in the city are active in diverse fields, with many being pioneers in the digital transformation of the book. As well as this, Québec is also the headquarters of De Marque, a French leader in the distribution of e-books with 1600 partners in 40 countries. The city has an efficient and free-to-use network of 25 libraries for all citizens, ensuring that access to literature crosses all levels of society.

The literary community in Québec is known for its vibrancy and diversity. The Morrin Center offers English language courses, library services, and organises many activities including an annual literary festival. Hannenorak Publishing and the Hannenorak Bookstore are dedicated exclusively to Francophone Aboriginal speech across the country, and play a fundamental role in the preservation of their culture.

Eight annual literary festivals also colour the literary landscape of the city, including: Quebec en toutes lettres, Month of Poetry, Québec Francophone Comics Festival, ImagiNation, and Jamais Lu. The Québec International Book Fair has broken records for several years, welcoming 2,500 writers and artists in 2016.