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World Book Day - Our Team's Picks

To celebrate World Book Day 2019, we've asked the team to share their current top reads of the year and provide a brief explanation why it's their favorite. Check out WoW's team picks below...

Alice: The Freedom Artist by Ben Okri 

This year I have loved reading The Freedom Artist by award winning writer Ben Okri. What I most loved about this book is the chapters are short, it seems like you’re in a fast paced, ever moving world, the characters’ emotions are fleeting yet profound. What happens when you live in a post truth world? What happens when artists and writers disappear from the world? The book is a mixture of Kafka, Orwell and a bit of Coelho – all things love, politics and history interweave in this harrowing yet beautiful tale. 

Katrina: I Was Somebody Before This by Kitti Jones

I have just finished reading I Was Somebody Before This by Kitti Jones. I think it’s an incredibly important book in such a powerful time while we are experiencing the #MeToo movement. Female empowerment is so crucial in this day and age, and this book highlights the hold money and power can play over someone’s life, so much so they don’t see their own family in years and shows the process of breaking that hold and becoming yourself again. I think I Was Somebody Before This is the first book in a list of many to begin exposing a sickening side to the music industry and will be pivotal in changing the way we all perceive it.

Lauren: Becoming by Michelle Obama 

My favourite book I’ve read this year is Michelle Obama’s autobiography Becoming a brutally honest journey from her working-class childhood in the South Side of Chicago, to the most inclusive White House America has ever known. This heartfelt, warm and witty book is an essential read showing hard work, determination and fair-mindedness. A wonderful insight into the iconic First Lady we know her as today.  

Steph: Kingdomland by Rachael Allen

“A girl, large-eyed
pressure in a ditch
grips to a dank and
disordered root system”
I’m currently reading Rachael Allen’s Kingdomland. From the first untitled poem, I was immediately taken by Allen's incredible restraint with language. I think what she’s doing with nature and environments is so impressive and important. The scenes she creates feel both familiar and disturbing, which I think tells us a lot about the vulnerability of our ecological landscapes and current situation. 

Emma: Dayglo The Poly Styrene Story by Celeste Bell and Zoë Howe

Growing up in a household where the choice was The Sex Pistols or David Essex it isn’t hard to guess which musical influences I sided with. Sat in my dad’s car I clearly remember the first time I heard ‘The Day the World Turned Day-Glo’. For my dad it may have been his proudest moment, for me, I had just heard a female voice that echoed the angst I felt, growing up in a world that didn’t fulfil my expectations. Poly Styrene’s lyrics are still as important to me today as woman as they were then with lines like ‘When you see yourself, does it make you scream?’ Day-Glo by Poly’s daughter Celeste Bell and writer Zoë Howe is an important reminder of what a pioneer Poly was and how much we still need to challenge today. 

Ciarán: Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas

I’ve been rereading Scarlett Thomas’ Our Tragic Universe – it’s a really interesting novel of how a story can save a life. The main character, a writer struggling to start her passion project, is being bogged down by doing gonzo journalism features on self-help holistic books. It pulls in really beautiful discussions on quantum psychics, language, Zen stories, psychology and philosophy. At one point it can feel like a domestic drama between the main character and the people in her live, the next an accessible and intellectual debate about narrative and storytelling, the next a guide to holistic remedies and magic. 

Madeline: Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Fenton

Longlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize, Yvonne Battle- Fenton’s Remembered is reminiscent of Tony Morrison’s Beloved. Beginning with a haunting, Remembered opens in Philadelphia in 1910 where Spring, a former slave, harbours secrets that must be told for the sake of her son Edward. This is a beautifully written debut novel which attests to the importance of coming to terms with the past, no matter how painful, for progress to be made.   

Mike: When the Rivers Run Dry: Water--The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century by Fred Pearce

When the Rivers Run Dry, Water-The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century by veteran scientist, environmentalist and writer Fred Pearce, finishes on a note of optimism, a notion of hope as the last to leave Pandora’s Box, but what precedes it is a devastating and chilling account of the global mismanagement of water on so many levels it is hard to comprehend, and that water, which should flow freely in every household, is a political issue that sees communities cut off and deprived of water if their neighbour upstream deems it better to divert it to irrigate their crops or supply the new towns they have built. There are tales of the water table being drained dry in many regions to supply farms and industry, which is most worrying as this is water gathered over many thousands of years, which will take lifetimes to replenish. A brilliant book, and a ground level view of why, as is the case on virtually all environmental issues, man is the problem, and the only one who can solve it.








Writing on the Wall awarded £239,000 by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Writing on the Wall awarded £239,000 by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation to deliver Super Heroes Project over four years in Merseyside Schools

We are thrilled to announce that we have been successfully awarded £239,000 by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation to expand our hugely successful Super heroes: Words are our Power project in schools in Merseyside. The funding will provide a new job opportunity for a Schools Coordinator to join their dynamic staff team and oversee this exciting project.

Super Heroes: Words are our Power is a literacy project that will allow primary school children in Merseyside to find the Super Hero within, using writing and creativity for the greater good, changing how we view and understand creative education in in schools. As part of the Arts Based Learning More and Better Fund, WoW will be working in eight primary schools in Merseyside to provide arts based learning through creative writing, poetry, spoken word and illustration. 


Esmée Fairburn Foundation

Esmée Fairburn Foundation award Writing on the Wall £154,500 over three years towards core costs to support the organisation’s work developing literature and literacy with diverse communities in Liverpool. The three-year grant allows WoW to secure the full-time employment of two young women, Lauren Buxton and Katrina Paterson, who were previously employed through the Ways to Work Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) Scheme, designed to reach unemployed young people in Liverpool.

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WoWcast: Listen to our first podcast

We have created our very new podcast, WoWcast. Every month, we will be interviewing the people we work with and finding out more about their story - whether they have been guests, participants or have volunteered with us. Ariel Kahn is our first guest on this episode, he is a published author of Raising Sparks, which has been shortlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, as well as being a Pulp Idol finalist in 2017. Keep your ears open for more episodes to follow. 

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Black History Month at WoW

As part of Black History Month, Writing on the Wall are planning a series of exciting events with a focus on the legacy of the Liverpool 8 Law Centre, a screening of a new film based on the 1919 Race Riots with the return of the hugely successful Walking Tour tracing the events of this watershed moment and the launch of a debut novel by a local author. 

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Lights in the Distance - Migration History on our Shores

On Thursday 11th October, Toxteth library hosted a very important conversation regarding two era-defining issues: migration and Brexit. Appropriately hosted by WoW (Writing on the Wall) as a part of their Black History Month series, journalist Daniel Trilling,social and urban geographer Dr Arshad Isakjee, reader in human geography Dr Kathy Burrell and PhD candidate/author Emy Onuora,joined in a dialogue exploring European migration history. All panellists were in conversation with Lida Amiri, STAR (Student Action for Refugees) member and PhD candidate, who studies literature by translingual authors of Afghanistani origin. The panel discussion covered Trilling’s latest publication Lights in the Distance, Dr Isakjee’s viewpoint on migration and memories, Burrell’s insight into European migration in relation to her recent interviews with Polish migrants and important relevant historical context about black history in Liverpool from Onuora.


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17th November: 'Measuring Up'

Measuring Up
In partnership with The Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse
Funded by The Arts Council
Performance Saturday 17th November
Ev1 2.30pm and 7.30pm
As part of DaDa Fest 2018

Photographs by AB Photography:
1: Stephanie standing on the left, mandy sitting on right leaning forward, with tape measure stretched horizontally in front of her.
 2: Craig playing guitar on left, Mandy kneeling on one knee centre, with Perkins Brailler on table right.
3: The back of Matt left, Mandy sitting at table with Perkins Brailler in front of her and arms stretched out, on right. 

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Daniel Trilling: 'We haven’t reconciled with Britain’s history as an empire'

WoW sat down with journalist and writer, Daniel Trilling to talk about Lights in the Distance - Migration History on our Shores, an event on migration history which will take place on 11th October as part of WoW's Black History Month festival. You can buy tickets here for the event

Please introduce yourself.

Hello, I’m editor of New Humanist - a magazine of ideas, science and culture that began publication in 1885, although I obviously haven’t been editor for that long - and a freelance writer and reporter who contributes to the Guardian and London Review of Books among others. I’m also the author of two books: Bloody Nasty People: The Rise of Britain’s Far Right (Verso, 2012), and Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe (Picador, 2018).

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