When, in 2012, we opened the largest Portuguese bookstore in a church, we drew attention to the new configurations between spaces and activities and between local and foreign talents. All bookshops are located in unlikely places such as a church, an old fire department, and an old wine cellar.
The historic Town of Óbidos has 3,100 people and over half a million books inside the walled town.
The Literary Man Hotel is the only literary hotel in Portugal and one of the few in the world.
Óbidos has a Technology Park oriented towards the creative industries and awarded the Architizer 2015 (category Mix Use) and recognised in the German Design Awards.
Óbidos in the past decade has remodelled its entire school system and now has 4 brand new school complexes.
Óbidos has a partnership with the city of Granada and hosts writers from this city who come to Óbidos twice a year in search of tranquility and inspiration to develop their projects.
Óbidos is currently one of the most important places in national literature and the arts, and FÓLIO—Óbidos’s International Literary Festival—has become one of the most prestigious and respected cultural events in Portugal with a high level of recognition abroad. After a few festivals, FÓLIO has catapulted a region with previously little professional artistic activity onto the cultural map, contributing to the cultural, social, and economic development of the region.
The international recognition came on 11 December 2015 when the Village was classified by UNESCO as a Creative City of Literature. The 4th FÓLIO festival maintained the cultural dynamics of previous festivals and once again made the town an unparalleled cultural center for 11 days, welcoming prestigious national and international authors, illustrators, musicians, painters, booksellers, poets, teachers, politicians, journalists, opinion makers, and many other artists and prominent personalities in the midst of culture and the arts.
The program includes presentations and autograph sessions, talks, debates and conferences, classes, lectures and workshops, exhibitions, and concerts. One of the most important characteristics of this event is the close contact between authors of national and international repute with the public, which is encouraged. The activities carried out always seek to deepen this relationship of closeness and sharing, not only between authors, but with all the artists who participate in the event. Creative residences are an example of this and make a significant contribution to the territorial cohesion of the project, bearing in mind that the various artists work with local groups, associations and the school community to ensure that their projects are participatory and that they leave added value for the territory itself.
One of our main international goals is to diversity editorial initiatives. This project will be made possible by organizing activities that invite authors from participating Cities of Literature and other cities and countries to live for a short period of time in one of our creative residences and write a book using Óbidos as a backdrop. This book would then be published in at least two languages. Literary production is, if not the most important, definitely the most relevant project that will be carried out in this area in terms of international participation. Our intention is to have, annually, at least one different author writing a book in and/or about Óbidos.