Since 2015, Tartu has been part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, designated as a City of Literature. There UCCN covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts. In the Cities of Literature Network Tartu collaborates with 31 other cities all across the world: Angoulême, Baghdad, Barcelona, Beirut, Bucheon, Dublin, Dunedin, Durban, Edinburgh, Exeter, Göteborg, Granada, Heidelberg, Iowa City, Jakarta, Krakow, Kuhmo, Lahore, Leeuwarden, Lillehammer, Ljubljana, Lviv, Manchester, Melbourne, Milano, Montevideo, Nanjing, Norwich, Nottingham, Obidos, Odessa, Prague, Québec City, Reykjavík, Seattle, Slemani, Ulyanovsk, Utrecht, Vilnius, Wonju, and Wroclaw. The activities of the City of Literature are coordinated by the Estonian Literary Society, which also works with the Department of Culture of the City of Tartu.
Since receiving the title, Tartu has placed greater emphasis on increasing the literary interests of children and young people, expanded international collaboration, supported the mobility of writers through residencies and exchange programs, and increased the visibility of local writers in the international arena. Tartu has also made investments to renovate the representative centre of the City of Literature (Tartu Literature House), has appointed a City Writer, has trained guides for the City of Literature and offers support for schools to invite writers to perform.
One of the guides to different locations in literary Tartu is a map (in Estonian and English) that features, among other things, a reading recommendation on the topic of Tartu.
As of 2017, the City of Tartu also awards a year-long City Writer scholarship. There have been 6 City Writers so far: Kristiina Ehin (2017), Mika Keränen (2018), Vahur Afanasjev (2019), Carolina Pihelgas (2020), Juhan Voolaid (2021) and Paavo Matsin (2022).