Oxford will today launch a bid to become the UNESCO World Book Capital in 2014.

If the city sees off competition from cities across Europe, Oxford would be invited to host a year-long programme of events that could bring many thousands to the city, along with leading authors from across the world.

The bid will, fittingly, be launched this morning at the 400-year-old Convocation House, in the Bodleian Library, one of the world’s great libraries.

Leading writers associated with the city, including Morse creater Colin Dexter and His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman, are expected to attend, along with publishers and representatives from Oxford City Council and Oxford University.

UNESCO — the United Nations Educational, Scien-tific and Cultural Organiz-ation — introduced the idea of World Book Capital in 2001, when Madrid claimed the title.

The successful bidders are charged with organising a programme to celebrate and promote books and foster reading, with bidders being urged to “involve all regions of the world” in their planned events.

If successful Oxford would host a programme running from April 2014 to April 2015.

Highlights of the year would be the reopening of the redeveloped New Bodleian building as the Weston Library and the completion of a £14m Story Mus- eum in Oxford. The museum will be housed in a Vic- torian building in Pembroke Street, off St Aldates.

The Oxford bid will highlight the city’s rich literary heritage and reputation as a publishing centre. Oxford’s potential to stage such an event, and the money spinning benefits, have been shown by the city’s literary festival, which annually attracts 25,000 people.

The bid is being co-ordinated by Oxford Inspires, the cultural development agency for Oxfordshire.