Kuala Lumpur as World Book Capital 2020: The Dreams Start Here

Kuala Lumpur World Book Capital 2020

The recognition for World Book Capital 2020 is up for grab as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has put up notice of nomination.

This time, Malaysia is determined to launch an aggressive bid towards making Kuala Lumpur World Book Capital 2020.

Nominations are open until 15 March 2018.

A few days ago, the president of Malaysian Book Publishers Association, Ishak Hamzah unveiled the KLBaca! promotional banner, underlining the early initiatives in making Kuala Lumpur the reading capital.


In a few days time, Malaysia will make its intention known during the upcoming UNESCO’s 39th General Conference scheduled to be held in Paris between 30 October and 14 November 2017. The Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, will make his presence in the conference.

The bidding will be coordinated by a number of government offices and bodies including the Ministry of Education, Majlis Buku Kebangsaan Malaysia (MBKM) and Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur. The Mayor of Kuala Lumpur will be handing the bidding.

But before the bidding can be done, a working committee will be formed. Membership will be mostly from the related ministries, government bodies, publishers, and societies with strong links and interest in the publishing industry.

What is World Book Capital?

The World Book Capital is a recognition by UNESCO given to a city undertaking the best initiatives to promote reading culture and literary programs. It was first introduced in 2001, with Madrid recognised as the first World Book Capital.


The selection as World Book Capital is based on a number of criteria. Some of these include the number and size of programmes promoting reading, the degree and level of participation (municipal, national, international), and the potential impacts of the programmes.

Additionally, the scope and quality of promotions, and the compliance of the programmes with the Declaration of Human Rights will also be taken into account.

The World Book Capital 2017 was awarded to Conakry (Guinea), followed by Athens, Greece (2018) and Sharjah, UAE (2019).

Asia cities which have been selected as World Book Capital in the past include New Delhi (2003), Bangkok (2013), and Incheon (2015).