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The Minister for Faith visits WoW

The Minister for Faith and Parliamentary Under Secretary of Wales paid a visit to Toxteth Library on Thursday to learn more about WoW's preparations for their Windrush Day grant-funded project: From SS Orbita to Orbital.  The meeting was also attended by friends of WoW: Rose Thomas, Levi Tafari, Ray Quarless and Addae Gaskin. The project will be formally launched at a Windrush Legacy Day on 29 June and commence on 1 August. Keep your eyes peeled for more news...

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Joan Burnett: 'Activism takes all shapes and forms' for WoWFEST19

Joan Burnett, who has worked with a number of local arts and cultural organisations including FACT talks to us about the importance on putting LGBT+ events around the city. For WoWFEST19, our theme is 'Where are We Now?' and events include: 

4th May @ Video Odyssey 6pm - Riyadh Khalaf: Yay! You're Gay! Now what? 
7th May @ Radisson Blu Hotel 7.30pm - Munroe Bergdorf in conversation with Lady Phyll 
15th May @ LEAF 7.30pm - Queer are we now? Peter Tatchell and Cheryl Martin 

Activism takes all shapes and forms, so WoWFEST have brought some of the most vital LGBT+ activists to Liverpool for this year's festival. Both intersectional and intergenerational, in just three events, you can listen to and join in direct debate, listen and be heard. It's a dream to have Lady Phyll here in the city, the founder of UK Black Pride, which should be a template for inclusivity in all Prides, and this years' Grand Marshall for World Pride 2019 in New York. Campaigner, columnist and trade unionist, she's inspirational and has great advice about self-care - essential for surviving the demands of life in this age of gobby attention-seekers wreaking havoc all around us.

Munroe Bergdorf and Riyadh Khalaf represent a new generation of activists challenging lazy perceptions of what LGBT+ life might be. They're using their on-line expertise to enliven print media and TV, to shake up the political arena with their unswerving gaze on what's really going on. Yay, You're Gay, Now What? comes at a time when there has never been more visibility for gay men, but when that exposure isn't always positive, what does that mean for young people coming out and where can they turn? Munroe has been subjected to "word hatred", in Jude Kelly's phrase, for her principled stand on Trans rights. She has spoken powerfully about the relations between Trans and Cis-gendered women and it will be fascinating to see her in conversation with Lady Phyll - I sense we'll all take away an invaluable recipe for resilience. 

Cheryl Martin brought new inspiration for 2018's iteration of Homotopia here in Liverpool and it falls to her and Peter Tatchell to explore the 50 years of activism since the Stonewall Riots kicked off the gay liberation movement. Queer Are We Now? will pull no punches - Peter has put his life on the line to promote LGBT+ rights across the world for a life time and Cheryl, director, playwright, poet and performer, explores subjects as far ranging as colonialism and mental health in her work with searing honesty and warm wit. I can't think of two better people to take that 50 years anniversary and do something positive with it, standing witness to where we are now, making this history meaningful for a new generation. 
Change is in the air. All that is solid, like the icecaps, is melting into air. Things fall apart - can the centre hold? The rich are getting richer, but otherwise uncertainty is the order of the day; Brexit, climate change, class, feminism, gender, race, populism, fake news, digital surveillance, and more, much more, are changing and challenging all our old conceptions. The stage is now set for WoWFest19 to seek answers to the question... WHERE ARE WE NOW?

Go to www.wowfest.uk to see the full programme with over 60 events taking place all over Liverpool!  


WoWFest 2019 with Celeste Bell, Zoë Howe, Riyadh Khalaf and John Crace

Thursday 30th May
The Poly Styrene Story  

British Music Experience, Cunard Building, Canada Blvd, Liverpool L3 1DS

Poly Styrene, Punk Icon and Rebel Queen, satirised the world with a colourful playfulness setting her apart from the monochrome nihilism of punk. Her moving story is told by her daughter Celeste Bell and music writer Zoë Howe (Shine On Marquee Moon, Barbed Wire Kisses – The Jesus and Mary Chain story).

Saturday 4th May
Yay! You’re Gay!
Now What?
Video Odyssey, 37-45 Windsor St, Liverpool, L8 1XE 

Yay! You’re Gay! Now What? asks Riyadh Khalaf with his debut heartfelt guide for young queer guys.


Wednesday 8th May
The Young, Cosmopolitan City of Stories You’ve Been Missing - Tehran Now 
Toxteth Library, Windsor Street, Liverpool, L8 1XF

Join Orkideh Behrouzan,
Vahid Davar and Niloo Sharifi for
a reading and conversations about Iran's literature and culture.

Friday 10th May
The Rise And Fall

Waterstones LiverpoolONE, 12 College Ln, Liverpool L1 3DL

The Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer John Crace, who coined the term
Maybot, tells the essential, hysterical tale of her first turbulent year in No 10.

Tuesday 28th May
Who Cares? Justice and Campaigning for
Human Rights
in the Care System

The Women's Organisation, 54 St James St, Liverpool L1 0AB

Join Campaigner and author Sara RyanMark Neary and Deborah Coles to discuss the desperate need for improvement in the care system. 

Wednesday 8th May
My City: Creative Writing
& Storytelling Workshop - Persian Focus

Toxteth Library, Windsor Street, Liverpool, L8 1XF

Grow your confidence, pick up some new skills in creative writing and storytelling, and learn something unexpected about the cities of Liverpool and Tehran. Feast on great stories and Persian foods. Come away with new friendships!

Liverpool Library Tour

Various Locations

Writing on the Wall will be doing a Liverpool-wide tour of events in the city's libraries as part of WoWFEST19. These will include workshops from high-profile writers, events for Children and Young People and open mic performance events.

Sunday 12th May
& Sunday 26th May

1919 Race Riots –
Centenary Walking Tour
Meeting Point: Chinese Arch, 12 Nelson Street, L1 5EW

Join us in this, the centenary year, as we walk those same streets and with the testimony of those most affected, bring this crucial piece of history back to life. 

Wednesday 29th May

Austerity and the Public Role of Drama
Friends Meeting House, 22 School Ln, Liverpool L1 3BT

Victor Merriman’s Austerity and the Public Role of Drama traces how liberal economics has led to the social catastrophe of Project Austerity


#WoWFest19 with Mike Leigh, Munroe Bergdorf, La Violette Records

Monday 13th May
Mike Leigh: Peterloo Screening and Q&A
Plaza Community Cinema, 13 Crosby Rd N, Waterloo, Liverpool L22 0LD

The 1819 massacre in St Peter’s fields, graphically brought to life in Mike Leigh’s latest epic film Peterloo, sent shockwaves throughout society. Legendary director Mike Leigh, whose credits include Abigail’s Party, Secrets & Lies, Vera Drake and Mr Turner, joins WoW for a unique screening followed by Q&A.


Tuesday 7th May 
Munroe Bergdorf in Conversation with Lady Phyll
Radisson Blu, 07 Old Hall St, Liverpool L3 9BD

Join Munroe Bergdorf (first transgender model in the UK for L'Oreal) and Lady Phyll (Co-founder of UK Black Pride) for a frank discussion on the challenges and opportunities of online activism, body image and carving out your own space. Familiar for her refreshing insight into ‘white privilege’, diversity and the LGBT+ community, model and activist Munroe Bergdorf has proven herself as a brave and bold voice. In partnership with Raddison Blu.

Friday 3rd May
La Violette Records Presents: If They Don't Read, Don't F*ck Them
Studio2 at Parr Street, 33-45 Parr St, Liverpool L1 4JN

La Violette Società presents Roy, Nathan O'Hagan, Louise Fazackerkey & Toria Garbutt. Violette Records, launched in 2013 by Michael Head (The Red Elastic Band) and friends, has won acclaim for their democratic ethos & eclectic mix of high quality music and spoken word artists. 


#WoWFest19 announcing Kerry Hudson, Helen Pankhurst and Magid Magid

Tuesday 21st May
Lowborn: Kerry Hudson Book Launch

Waterstones, Liverpool ONE, 12 College Ln, L1 3DL

Prize-winning novelist Kerry Hudson grew up in grinding poverty, moving between care home, B&Bs and council flats. LOWBORN, written 20 year later, after finding herself caught between two worlds, is Kerry’s account of revisiting the towns of her childhood to discover what being poor means in Britain’s society today.

Tuesday 7th May
What is to be done: Environment and Action
Toxteth Library, Windsor Street, L8 1XF 
To discuss the environmental crisis and our reactions to it, we bring together Fred PearceMagid MagidBeth Gardiner and Roscoe Blevins

Wednesday 29th May  
Deeds Not Words: Helen Pankhurst in Conversation 
The Women's Organisation, 54 St James St, Liverpool L1 0AB
Helen Pankhurst, granddaughter of legendary Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, sharing findings from her book Deeds Not Words: The Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now. 

Wednesday 8th May
Calling All Magic Children: Scarlett Thomas' Worldquake
Liverpool Central Library 

Calling all magic children, have you heard of Worldquake? It’s “the most exciting debut in children’s fiction since Harry Potter!”. Join author Scarlett Thomas as we find out if we’re mages or hunters, tricksters, heroes...

Wednesday 8th May
Imagination and Inspiration: Writing for Children 
Waterstones Liverpool ONE

Award-winning writer Scarlett Thomas discusses the magic of capturing young readers’ imaginations alongside local writers Jude Lennon and Sally-Anne Tapias-Bowes.

Friday 10th May 
Out-Spoken Live
Studio 2
Dubbed “the golden standard of spoken word” by The Guardian, Out-Spoken, one of the UK’s premier nights for poetry and live music are on tour.

Wednesday 22nd May 
FACT Curator Tour
Join FACT’s Exhibitions Team to learn more about their new exhibition from Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett

Thursday 23rd May
I Want You to Know: A Writing Workshop for Refugees and People from Refugee Families
The Barbed Wire writing workshop is for refugees and people from refugee families to tell their own stories.

Friday 24th May
Building a New Catalonia
Friends Meeting House 
Building A New Catalonia is a remarkable statement on fighting for an anti-capitalist, socialist and feminist Catalonia.