Liverpool’s WOWFest breaks down barriers throughout May
We’re putting pen to paper this month as WOWFest returns for it’s 18th year of creative writing and community programmes in Liverpool.
LIVERPOOL’S longest running literary and writing festival is back with a month-long programme of high-profile events. WoWFest 2018 runs throughout May at venues across the city and brings together writers, journalists, performers, activists, commentators, broadcasters, academics and communities.
Now in its 18th year, WoWFest will focus on the ‘prose and cons’ of Brexit with its theme of Crossing Borders. Guests include Britain’s most popular poet, whose autobiography is currently Radio 4’s book of the week, Benjamin Zephaniah, Comic actor Robert Webb and human rights campaigner and politician Shami Chakrabarti.
Festival co-director Madeline Heneghan, explains: “Crossing Borders responds to the recent national and international political, social and cultural developments around issues of Brexit, the EU, migration, race, diversity and more. We will explore messages of togetherness, hope and inclusivity by building stories and experiences around the thoughts, ideas and hopes of our community.”
The festival, which is supported by Liverpool City Council and Arts Council England, also provides a platform for local talent as it showcases the wider work of Writing on the Wall’s writing projects.
Based at Toxteth Library, Writing on the Wall began life in 2000. Its remit was to host a week-long festival of events. Today it hosts an annual programme of creative writing and heritage programmes working with communities across Liverpool and the wider region.
The group organises events and writing development workshops, including the Liverpool Young Writers project and the popular free-to-enter competition for aspiring novelists, Pulp Idol. To date, the competition has shone the spotlight on more than 200 unpublished Liverpool writers.
WoW co-director Mike Morris said: “Our programme of events is designed to help identify and inspire the wealth of untapped local literary talent we have and then help these writers to find their voice. We then help them to present their work to the widest possible audience. The festival offers the chance for people to discuss and reflect on issues of social justice as well as providing stimulating and thought-provoking performances.”
Other highlights this year include Palestinian writer Mourid Barghouti,rapper and activist Akala and leading feminist Beatrix Campbell.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, said: “We’re delighted to host WoWFest in the city. Over the years this festival has become one of the highlights of the city’s packed cultural calendar. Once again the festival has seized the moment by taking the most topical of events and asking us all to consider what they mean to us. It’s also fantastic that WoWFest continues to support our home grown writing and performing talent. It promises to be a great festival month for Liverpool.”
WoWFest has been given extra council funding this year as part of the 2018 cultural programme. A host of festivals including Africa Oye, Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival, LEAP and DADA Fest have been given a boost to present some of their most eye-catching and ambitious line-ups to date.