In 2017 Lillehammer was awarded UNESCO city of literature.
Lillehammer's status as UNESCO city underlines the city's long held position in Norwegian literature, and is an expression for the city's ambitions for further development as an international literture city. The poets' homes Aulestad and Bjerkebæk are important elements in the literature city.
Lillehammer's history as artist city goes as far back as the 1870's when the first colonies of arts painters established themselves in the city. At the same time Nobel prize winner in literature, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, moved to Aulestad in Gausdal where he lived for 35 years. In 1919 Sigrid Undset moved Bjerkebæk with her two children and here she wrote the Nobel prize awarded triology about Kristin Lavransdatter. Since then many Norwegian authors have lived and worked in the city.
The Nansen school was established at Lillehammer right before the second world war. Since then the school has been a power center for debates, philosophy and the art of writing. Today Lillehammer is a free town for persecutes authors as well as the home town for The Norwegian film school and the Norwegian Literature fetival Sigrund Undset days, the largest literature festival in the entire Nordic region.
UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was established in 2004 and includes 246 cities all over the world. They all have a unique position on the cultural field and has a special focus on creative businesses when they are planning their future.