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 Pearce, Magid Magid, Beth 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...
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..
Tuesday 14th May
7.30pm (Doors at 7pm)
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street, L1 9BP
Born Lippy: Jo Brand in Conversation
Sometimes it's hard to be a woman and sometimes it's time to be a hard woman.
Comedy’s finest Jo Brand gets gobby, as she brings Born Lippy, her straight-talking, darkly funny guide to life to WoWFEST ‘19. Join her in conversation with Emmerdale Brookside, Doctors and Waterloo Road actress, Eithne Browne as she discusses how to do female. Ticket Prices £23.5/£17.50 (Including Advance book order) £16/£10.
Wednesday 15th May
Queer Are We Now?: Peter Tatchell, Keynote Speech
7.30pm (Doors at 7pm)
LEAF, 65-67 Bold Street, L1 4EZ
The Stonewall rebellion sparked the momentous gay liberation movement, one of the most important events in LGBTQIA+ history. 50 years on – as Trump turns the clock back and Chechnya systematically detains and tortures its supposed ‘non-existent’ LGBTQIA+ citizens, WoWFest19 asks Queer are we now? with a unique keynote Speech from human rights activist Peter Tatchell. £12/£6.
Wednesday 22nd May
An Evening with Booker Prize Winner Ben Okri
6.30pm (Doors at 6pm)
The Bluecoat, 8 School Ln, L1 3BX
Booker Prize-winning Nigerian writer, Ben Okri discusses his contribution to literature and his latest novel, The Freedom Artist; an impassioned plea for justice and a penetrating examination of how freedom is threatened in a post-truth society. In a world uncomfortably like our own, a young woman called Amalantis is arrested for asking a question. Her question is this: Who is the Prisoner? £12/£6.
Fri 24th & Sat 25th May
A Self-Help Guide to Being in Love with Jeremy Corbyn
7.30pm (Doors at 7pm)
Unity Theatre, 1 Hope Pl, L1 9BG
Following the success of her first show, Burning Books, which received five-star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe and on its national tour in 2015, Jess returns with a rousing, lyrical and humorous look at modern politics; a show which received critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe and saw Jess win the BBC Poetry Slam, which led her to having a cup of tea with the man himself! £15/£10.
Thursday 23rd May
Citizens of Nowhere with Jennifer Makumbi and Dina Nayeri
The Bluecoat, School Ln, L1 3BX
How can refugees and migrants be heard in such a hostile environment; What happens after you are displaced; What does it mean to truly belong; Does the story of a refugee finish when asylum is won? Award winning authors Jennifer Makumbi and Dina Nayeri discuss migration and refuge, providing insights into resettlement, identity and community. £8/£5.
Monday 20th May
‘Crime’, Punishment & The Politics of Fear
6.30pm (Doors at 6pm)
Bluecoat, 8 School Ln, L1 3BX.
Renowned criminologists and sociologists Tony Platt (University of California) and Phil Scraton (The Violence of Incarceration & The Hillsborough Report) discuss the social and political consequences of criminalisation, particularly mass incarceration, in a climate of fear and the responsibilities of researcher-activists to prisoners, their families, their communities and to the wider public. £12/£6.
Wednesday 29th May
Inside Pale Eyes: A Dream Noir Book Launch
7pm (Doors at 6.30pm)
Bluecoat, 8 School Ln, L1 3BX
Writer Dave Ward reads from his new publication Inside Pales Eyes (Hawkwood Books, 2019), a unique collection of flash fiction and observations of urban life accompanied by drawings from Bryan Biggs. Free, booking required. 7pm.
7pm (Doors at 6.30pm)
81 Renshaw, 81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool, L1 2SJ.
If you know where to look, urban landscapes can inspire journeys through the melting pots of ideas, cultures and histories built into its concrete. Writers Bahriye Kemal, Paul Scraton and Gary Budden share vivid portraits of their cities, from militarised borders to remembering divided pasts and places more imagined than real. £6/£3.
Thursday 2nd May
Common People – Class in the Margins in Writing and Publishing
7pm (Doors at 6.30pm)
Toxteth Library, Windsor Street, Liverpool, L8 1XF.
Almost half of all authors, writers and translators in the UK come from professional, middle-class backgrounds, compared with just ten per cent of those from a working-class background. So where are the working-class writers? The answer is right here. This exciting event brings together writers from two breakthrough anthologies, Common People (Unbound) and Know Your Place (Dead Ink). £6/£3.
Thursday 16th May
The B-Word: Where Are We Now?
7pm (Doors at 7pm)
LEAF, 65-67 Bold St, L1 4EZ
The B-word has haunted global headlines since June 2016 with the most unprecedented political move in modern history and it’s been swings and roundabouts ever since. Join writer James Meek, Daily Mirror Lead Feature Writer Ros Wynne-Jones, author Costas Lapavitsas and Guardian Journalist Anita Sethi to discuss what happens now. £8/£4.
MORE #WoWFest19 EVENTS TO BE ANNOUNCED
In partnership with UNISON, Writing on the Wall are running a free, 12 week course for Unison members in the Merseyside area. The course will start on 24th April and run weekly until 10th July at Quaker Meeting House (22 School Lane, L1 3BT).
The course will help you develop your writing and creative skills and help you produce pieces of written or spoken word.
To register for the course, click here to express your interest
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.