Writing on the Wall 2011 – Festival Guide

Festival Guide 3 – 28 May 2011
See website for full up-to-date details

Tuesday 3rd May – Thursday 5th May
Pulp Idol Writing Competition – Heats

Pulp Idol, Writing on the Wall’s unique writing competition for novelists, returns for 2011. In 2010, following on from the competition and the publication of Pulp Idol – Firsts, a collection of the first chapters of the competition finalists, WoW is delighted to announce that finalist Debbie Morgan has been offered a publishing contract by Tindal Street Press. Her novel, The Vanity Case, will be published in 2012.

Click here for competition details

Friday 6th May

Brian Reade – Book Launch

An Epic Swindle: 44 Months with a Pair of Cowboys

Continuing his life-long love affair with all things LFC, Brian Reade, award-winning Mirror Journo and columnist, is earning his spurs at the WoW Rodeo by launching his latest book, and launching into the biggest cowboys of all time: Hicks and Gillett, former American based owners of Liverpool FC, who were run out of town by Sheriff Martin ‘The Big Gun’ Broughton, and a fine Posse of malcontents whipped together by the good ol’ Spirit of Shankly boys, leaving behind all their bullion still safe and sound in the vaults at Anfield. This ain’t just a tale of a bung gone wrong, this is a tale of a classic Gordon-Gekko leveraged corporate buyout, with lessons for fans and non-fans alike. This event is no ‘epic swindle’. With free entry and a free glass of happy juice if you’re early enough, join us for a gun-totin’ night of bonanza proportions featuring Brian Reade and the Spirit of Shankly.

The Casa, 29 Hope Street, L1 9BQ

Time: 7pm – till late

Free entry, places are limited so must be booked in advance. Call WoW on 0151 703 0020 or email: info@writingonthewall.org.uk

Saturday 7th May

Rioting on the Wall

The 30th Anniversary of the 1981 Uprisings. Writing on the Wall becomes Rioting on the Wall for an all day and night commemoration at the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre, featuring artistic and political interpretations of the events of 1981.

Those events have a resonance today; students are taking to the street, youth unemployment is at an all-time high, cuts in public spending are decimating essential services and equality campaigners report increased police harassment of black youth. Are there parallels with 1981, and more importantly are there lessons to be learnt today?

This exciting day will include:

A photographic exhibition of the Toxteth riots

You vote for the photographs for an exhibition in July 2011 at National Museums Liverpool.

The day includes Face painters, an Uprising Quiz, Bolshie Bingo, Food by Raggas and a Licensed bar.

Time: 1pm – 6pm, free entry

Afternoon Coffee with Bonnie Greer

Award winning writer Bonnie Greer launches her new biography of Langston Hughes, writer, communist and champion of victimised black youth.

Time: 4pm – till 5.30pm, free entry, places are limited so must be booked in advance. Call WoW on 0151 703 0020 or email: info@writingonthewall.org.uk

Back to the Future, Riots Then and & Now

Join our panellists for a discussion on the events of 1981 and their significance today. Featuring:

Maria O’Reilly, a founder member of the L8 Defence Committee, and the Liverpool 8 Law Centre and long standing justice campaigner
Levi Tafari, leading UK Dub Poet
Billy Hayes, General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union
Colin Prescod, Chair of the Institute of Race Relations
Kevin Sampson, Novelist (Away Days, Powder Club Land, Stars are Stars) former manager of the Farm

Time: 6pm – 7.30pm

Tickets £5/£3 includes entry to the Rebel’s Ball party night. Available in advance from the Philharmonic hall box office 0151 709 3789  Online: Click here

The Rebel’s Ball

Featuring Don Letts, (Big Audio Dynamite, BBC 6 Radio), the original Rebel Dread takes to the decks for a rare Liverpool performance.

Time: 8pm – 2am

Entry £5 payable on the door

Presented in association with: Big People’s Promotions, Love Music Hate Racism, Merseyside Black History Month Group, National Museums Liverpool, The Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre.

Tuesday 10th May

‘Gentleman’ George Monbiot’s ‘Left Hook’ Show

Get ready for a bare knuckle battle for hearts and minds.
Direct from a string of verbal victories, will you please welcome, in the red corner, The Guardian’s unbeaten intellectual heavyweight champion of free speech, one of the UK’s foremost thinkers and environmentalists, and polemicist supreme ‘GENTLEMAN’ GEORGE MONBIOT.
The gloves are off for a barnstorming evening of topical debate in which our man Monbiot selects a hot topic for the first half, and then invites members of the audience to contest this with him. In the second half, he throws down the gauntlet to all comers and will take any subject from A to Z as the audience pit their wits against him in bouts of verbal fisticuffs.

The Art and Design Academy
Liverpool John Moores University,
Duckinfield Street, Off Brownlow Hill, L3 5RD
Time: 7.30pm – 10pm
Tickets: £12 Full price, £10 Concession
Available from the Philharmonic Hall Box Office
Tel: 0151 709 3789
Online: Click here

Wednesday 11th May

Working Class ‘eroes

Gladys-Mary Coles & Tony Wailey

In her latest novel, Clay, Gladys-Mary joins a distinguished line of authors, including James Hanley and George Garrett, in writing about revolutionary times in Liverpool. Join Gladys-Mary Coles and working-class historian and writer Tony Wailey, (Edgy Cities, American Women) for a night devoted to radical Liverpool between the wars.

Gladys Mary Coles is a novelist, poet, historian and editor, internationally known for her biographical and critical work on Mary Webb. She has received many prizes and awards, and was selected to represent Britain in the Euro-Literature Project. Her poetry collections include Song of the Butcher Bird and The Echoing Green, plus a novel, Clay, all published by Flambard.

Tony Wailey, originally a seaman, is the author of eight books including pocket size novels and three collections of poetry. His work concerns the cosmopolitan nature of the maritime city. He wrote Edgy Cities with Steve Higginson which featured in the 2007 Writing on the Wall festival.

Hemingway’s Café, 52-60 Duke Street, L1 5AA

Time: 7pm – 9pm

Entry: £3/£2 pay on door

Thursday 12th May

Under Pressure

Strong, reliable, dependable, and falling to pieces under the pressure; who picks up the reins when the person in charge is breaking down? Three award-winning writers, each with their own story of the rigours of caring, come together to read from their work and share some thoughts on the inner life of the writer who cares.

Featuring: Helen Walsh, Brass, Once Upon a Time in England, Go to Sleep. Paul Wilson, Noah, Noah, Someone to Watch Over Me, Visiting Angel. Gaynor Arnold, The Girl in the Blue Dress, Lying Together.

Helen Walsh, Go to Sleep. Canongate, July 2011

Go To Sleep is a heart-wrenching story about one woman and her newborn child. It strips motherhood bare in the most unforgettable of ways.

Paul Wilson, Visiting Angel. Tindal Street, April 2011

This shattering and surprising novel is a miraculous piece of storytelling about a modern day guardian angel.

Gaynor Arold, Lying Together. Tindal Street, February, 2011

The best of Gaynor Arnold’s stories are tough and tender. She can be poignant and funny, too . . . and unabashedly delightful.

3rd Room, The Everyman Bistro

5-9 Hope Street, L1 9BH

Time: 7pm – 9pm

Entry: £3/£2 pay on the door

Friday 13th May

Penny Feeny – Book Launch

That Summer in Ischia (Tindal St)

Writing on the Wall’s very own Penny Feeny launches her debut novel, a story of dangerous love affairs, kidnap and a quest for identity.

Liddy and Helena are childhood friends working as au pairs on the Italian island of Ischia in the summer of 1979. They expect to spend an opulent summer in paradise, looking after the children of the wealthy Verduccis and Baldinis. But they hadn’t counted on a kidnapped child, dangerous love affairs and the police – and how they would betray each other. 25 years later, Liddy runs into a figure strikingly reminiscent of Helena: it’s Allie, her daughter. At the risk of opening old wounds, she befriends her – and so Allie is set upon a quest for her identity, taking her across Europe to the villa where it all went so wrong for her mother that summer in Ischia.

Penny Feeny is a former copywriter and editor who now writes fiction. Her short stories have been published widely in literary magazines and anthologies and have won several prizes including the BBC World Service Short Story competition. She’s been involved in many arts organisations in Liverpool over the years and is delighted to be part of WoW.

Studio 2, Parr Street, L1 4JN

Time: Doors open 7.30pm for an 8pm start.

Free entry

Saturday 14th May

A Rebel Rant with Derek Hatton

Liverpool: City of Radicals?

Derek’s back and he’s sure to provoke a debate! Derek became the face of 1980’s militancy as one of the ‘47’ councillors who took on Thatcher in 1984 and put himself on the line when surcharged and banned from office by the House of Lords. At the behest of Cameron’s Con-Dem Gov’t Liverpool City Council has just carried through cuts of £91m – the biggest in its’ history, part of a round of cuts that have provoked a national demonstration of up to half a million people. Derek will be ranting about the ‘good old days’ when Liverpool was prepared to stand up and be counted, asking – are the lessons of the 80’s still relevant today? Is Liverpool still a city of radicals?


The Black-E

Great George Street (next to Chinese Arch off Berry Street)

£8/£5 Available from The Philharmonic Hall Box office 0151 709 3789. Online Click here


Sunday 15th May

Regeneration or Ruination?

An urban trawl through the architecture and anarchy of Liverpool with Owen Hatherley and Jayne Joso.

Once described as a velvet-gloved provocateur, Owen Hatherley is nothing if he isn’t passionate about the physical state of Britain’s inner cities. His outlook is as much a social as it is architectural, and this itself sets him apart as ‘a commentator on architecture…in a school of one’. Owen’s latest work, ‘A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain, in which he finds himself in Liverpool One, both a ‘relief’ and a ‘functional failure’, has something to get everyone inflamed.

Jayne Joso is a novelist who has written extensively on architecture including writing for the UK’s Architecture Today magazine, and is also highly regarded for her writing on Japanese arts and culture.  Her first novel, Soothing Music for Stray Cats (Alcemi 2009), was shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize. Her second novel, Perfect Architect (Alcemi 2011), delves into the lives of the star architects and draws on her fascination for architecture and the desire to find the ideal home.

Join Owen and Jayne for an afternoon walking tour of key sites of Liverpool city centre designed to get you thinking with readings, debates and arguments.

The walk will last for approximately an hour and a half, and will culminate with readings and refreshments and a chance for further discussion with Owen and Jayne.

Walk 3pm to 5pm, talk and discussion 5pm to 7pm.

The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James Street, L1 0AB (next to Chinese supermarket)

Places are limited. Call 0151 703 0020 or email info@writingonthewall.org.ukto book. £8/£5 (concessions) for tour and discussion. £4/£3 for discussion only.
Refreshments available.

Tuesday 17th May

Big Society – Cameron’s Big Con?

In the Con-Dem Nation, will the volunteer public be running all our services, or is the call to arms really a cover for the privateers? Join our panel of writers, activists, commentators and practitioners trying to answer the big questions about the big society.

Featuring: Broadcaster and Journalist, Darcus Howe, Writer and Commentator, Dan Hind, Founder of The Women’s Organisation (formerly Train 2000), Maggie O’Carroll and founder of Croxteth Communiversity, Phil Knibb.

Dan Hind was a publisher for ten years. In 2009, he left the industry to develop a programme of media reform centred around public commissioning. His journalism has appeared in the Guardian, New Scientist, Lobster and the Times Literary Supplement. His first book, The Threat to Reason, was published by Verso in 2007.

Phil Knibb has over 30 years experience working in the community development field with Liverpool City Council and Social Businesses. Phil helped establish the Croxteth Community Trust and the Neighborhood Services Company. Today the partners own and manage the Communiversity, a lifelong learning and community resource centre.

Maggie O’Carroll is chief executive and founding member of The Women’s Organisation. She has led its development as an award-winning women’s economic development agency, the largest of its kind in the country. Maggie is a leader in the field of women’s enterprise and lectures on the subject at universities around the world. She is passionate about the need to harness the enterprise of women to help them become financially independent and lift families out of poverty.

Liverpool, a city that seems awash with entrepreneurs and community-based volunteer projects, rejects the Big Society initiative, hits the headlines, embarrasses the Government, and is accused by Heseltine, the Lion King himself, of going back to the dark days of Militant (LoL). So, why did Cameron want Liverpool’s endorsement, and why did Liverpool, long time scourge of Tory politicos, agree to go along with it? What can this marriage made in hell that couldn’t even survive the honeymoon period tell us about what’s in store for us? Should we reject the Big Society outright, or is there something there for us all? No answers on a postcard – come along and volunteer your voice in the Big Debate.

The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James Street, L1 0AB (next to the Chinese supermarket)

Time: 7pm – 9pm

Entry: £5/£3 pay on the door

Wednesday 18th May

Saints and Sinners

Patricia Duncker & Michael Arditti

Patricia Duncker is a multi-award winning writer (Hallucinating Foucault, The Deadly Space Between, Miss Webster and Chérif) and Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of Manchester. Her most recent novel, The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge, has been shortlisted for the Best Crime Novel of the Year (CWA Gold Dagger).

Michael Arditti is the author of six highly acclaimed novels including, The Celibate, Easter, and The Enemy of the Good,  His latest; Jubilate, set in Lourdes, portrays a love affair so unlikely that it might itself be regarded as a miracle.

Join these fantastic writers for an evening of readings and discussion focusing on heaven, hell, death, judgement, love, faith and sexuality, and the challenges these themes present to the work of the modern writer.

Sandon Room, The Bluecoat,School Lane, L1 3BX

Time:7.30pm – 9.30pm

Entry: £3/£2 concessions available from: The Bluecoat box office 0151 702 5324. Online: Click here

Thursday 19th May

DJ Target Presents

As part of Liverpool Sound City, Writing on the Wall’s young lyricists Blue Saint and Z3ro perform alongside Yo Video, Angel, RIO, Jay Norton, Ed Sheeran, Kof, Wretch 32.

Bumper, 18 Hardman Street, L1 9AX

Time: 7pm – till late

For ticket details see www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk

Thursday 19th May

Voice Recognition

Poetry and prose with passion and purpose

Voice Recognition comes to Liverpool in support of poet Lily Mosini’s campaign against deportation. Reading with Lily Mosini will be poets Rommi Smith and Clare Shaw, award-winning writer Brian Chikwava (Harare North) and Gambian Born novelist Dayo Forster (Reading the Ceiling). All this and an acoustic session from local female soulster Christine Q & Robbie guarantees you a night, lyrical-political, not to be missed.

Besides being an evening of heart stopping poetry, the reading aims to raise awareness of Lily Mosini, who has experienced brutal persecution in Iran because of her work, and now lives with the threat of deportation hanging above her – something which would put her life at risk. An unmissable opportunity to listen to this powerful writer and activist; and to become involved in the movement to support her.

The Bluecoat, School Lane, L1 3BX

Time:7.30pm – 10.30pm

Entry: £5/£3 concessions available from: The Bluecoat box office 0151 702 5324. Online: Click here

Friday 20th May

Liverpool 1911- A City on the Edge ‘Rhythms that Carry’

From the team that brought you the T.E.M.P. Manifesto and Edgy Cities, a fresh look at the great strike of 1911 when Liverpool was under martial law and 5,000 troops where encamped around the city. The speed up of Capitalism had begun. Cosmopolitan solidarity across race, gender and occupation became the focus of resistance.

“You need not attach great importance to the rioting in Liverpool last night. It took place in an area where disorder is a chronic feature.” (Winston Churchill, 1911)

When Churchill made this statement, Liverpool was a seething mass of discontent and revolt, with dockers, seafarers and transport workers on general strike. It was the “summer of discontent.” Whilst Liverpool historians have made great contributions by unearthing 1911, there are still questions that have remained unanswered in particular why the disputes broke out in the way they did : what were the underlying causes and why did the disputes take so long to resolve. The government were very concerned that the rank and file had “no leaders”.

Rhythms That Carry, will explore the sprawling tensions of Liverpool 1911, by hauling to the surface a series of hidden histories. These reveal that the Transport Strike cannot be separated from the wider cosmopolitan artistic, cultural, educational, musical and architectural avant-garde movements that were washing up upon the shores of Liverpool. The dockside wharfs were overflowing with teeming masses of immigrants who were crucial in disrupting and re-fashioning Liverpool identity.

Steve Higginson, Ian Morris, Tony Wailey.

The Casa, 29 Hope Street, L1 9BQ

Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Free entry


Friday 20th May

Strictly hip hop featuring Akala, The Cipher, Caktuz, NYCE and Surreal Knowledge.

Strictly hip hop is a night of big beats, spoken word, live music and creative lyrical content, featuring award-winning hip hop artist Akala (MOBO Award 2006 Best Hip-Hop Artist), the first underground MC to be recognised by MTV with ‘Banger 4 da streets’. Akala draws inspiration from Wu Tang Clan and KRS1, and is known for supporting M.I.A. and Aguilera, but now it is all about the prodigious talent of the man himself, who alongside his renowned drummer, Cassell “The Beatmaker” has developed a reputation for stellar live performances. Get ready to be lifted up and blown away by one of the most dynamic, literate and uncompromising talents in UK hip hop today.

Back at WoW for the fourth year running, and representing the newest of the new generation, is The Cipher, featuring Levi ‘Evil’ Fearon, Chatterbox, Blue Saint, Lina, I the Self, and Robert ‘Chalkie’ Thompson. WoW Festival and Sound City favourites, The Cipher are setting the tone for all future soundz. Don’t miss them.

Also featuring award winning Surreal Knowledge, a Manchester based trio comprising Jay, Madden and Mr Dick. SK take influence from various forms of music, drawing upon elements of Rock, Jazz, Funk, Soul, R n B and Electro with all the elements of Hip Hop.

All the way from The Big Apple, Caktuz and NYCE will be bringing the beat of the New York Streets to our little old city. Be sure to turn out and give them a welcome to remember.

All ages welcome

The Picket, 61 Jordan Street (off Jamaica St ), L1 0BW

Time: 8 till late

Entry: Tickets in advance – £5/£3 under 18’s and concessions. Available from The Philharmonic Hall Box office 0151 709 3789. Online Click here
Payment on the door – £7/£4 under 18’s and concessions

The first 20 Liverpool Sound City wrist bands get free entry – all other wrist band holders £3.

Saturday 21st May

DJ Target Presents

As part of Liverpool Sound City, Writing on the Wall’s young lyricists Chatterbox, I The Self and Lina perform alongside Janeiece Myers, Chelcee Grimes, Lioness, A Dot, Envy, Mz Bratt, Alex Mills, Cherri V and Yasmin.

Bumper, 18 Hardman Street, L1 9AX

Time: 7pm – till late

For ticket information visit www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk

Tuesday 24th May

The Little Black Book Club Presents:

An Evening with Cathy Tyson

The critically acclaimed actress comes home to share the words that have inspired her, and promises to inspire you with some words of her own.

Cathy Tyson remains best known for her astounding film debut playing Simone opposite Bob Hoskins in the award-winning film, Mona Lisa. But Cathy and her work have covered a lot of ground since then, as she, always in demand, has featured in film, television and stage, including Emmerdale and Band of Gold, and playing Herodia in BBC 3’s Liverpool Nativity, a modern adaptation of the traditional Christmas story. Cathy has expanded her range of talents by signing up for a creative writing course at London’s City Lit, and will share with us some of the material she has been working on. This is a unique opportunity to get inside the mind of one of the UK’s most enigmatic stars of stage and screen.

Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre, 4 Princes Road, L8 1TH

Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Entry: £5/£3 pay on the door

Wednesday 25th May

A L Kennedy – WORDS

“assertive, well-timed and pretty damn funny” Metro

Award-winning novelist, writer, Guardian columnist and stand-up comedienne, AL Kennedy, brings her one-woman show, WORDS, to Liverpool for the Writing on the Wall Festival. Powerful, thought provoking and very, very funny, AL Kennedy takes us on a journey of obsession and laughter on the power of words and her love affair with language.

AL Kennedy is a writer whose ability spans a wide range of genres, in both her fiction and non-fiction. She has published five novels and a range of short story collections, non-fiction works and screen-plays. Her novels are: Looking for the Possible Dance (1993), So I Am Glad (1995), Everything You Need (1999), Paradise (2004), and Day, (2007). In 2007 her novel, Day, was named Costa Book of the Year. In 2011 she will be publishing a new novel, The Blue Book.

Loved by many writers for her candid and down to earth view of the life of the writer, AL Kennedy regularly publishes columns devoted to the ups and downs of writing itself as a craft and a lifestyle choice.

This, surprisingly, is AL Kennedy’s first ever Liverpool gig. You’ve seen many comedy acts try out their hand at writing, but what about a writer who turns her hand to comedy? But then AL Kennedy has always gone against the grain – Not to be missed.

Sandon Room, The Bluecoat, School Lane, L1 3BX

Time: 7.30pm – 10.0pm

Entry: £6/£4 concessions available from: The Bluecoat box office 0151 702 5324. Online: Click here

Thursday 26th May

Screening of H3 with Séanna Walsh

On the 30th anniversary of the Irish hungers strikes, former political prisoner and current Sinn Féin organiser Séanna Walsh leads the discussion following Laurence McKeown’s award-winning film. Chaired by Professor Phil Scraton.

H3 is an outstanding award-winning film made in 2001, written by former hunger striker Laurence McKeown and ex-prisoner Brian Campbell and filmed in the H Blocks, in the North of Ireland. An uncompromising film, made almost a decade before Hunger, it traces the context, circumstances and consequences of the policy of criminalisation of political prisoners, the refusal of the Thatcher Government to negotiate and the 1981 Hunger Strikes, resulting in the death of Bobby Sands and nine other Republican volunteers.

It will be followed by a Q&A on the legacy of the conflict and the 30th Anniversary of the hunger strikes in the North with Séanna Walsh.

Séanna is Chair of the Republican ex-prisoners group Tar Anall, Sinn Féin organiser in West Belfast and head of its Irish language department. He served 21 years in prison including the Cages, Long Kesh, with political status, in the H-Blocks on the blanket without political status and was vice OC to Bobby Sands, a close friend and confidante. Released as a result of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement he has been at the forefront of delivering for Republicans an alternative to armed struggle and a clear road map to end British Government interference in Irish affairs. The session will be chaired by Professor Phil Scraton, Queen’s University, Belfast.

Sandon Room, The Bluecoat, School Lane, L1 3BX

Time: 6.30pm – 9.30pm

Entry: £5/£3 concessions available from: The Bluecoat box office 0151 702 5324. Online: Click here

Friday 27th May

‘1981: Unreasonable Force in Dangerous Times’ – Phil Scraton

Throughout the late 1970s heavy-handed policing in working class communities, on picket lines and in Black and Irish neighbourhoods drew criticism from campaign and civil liberties groups, politicians and the media. In April 1979, Blair Peach was clubbed down and killed by a member of the Metropolitan Police Special Patrol Group as he left an anti-fascist demonstration in Southall, London. Heavy handed policing continued throughout the inner-cities and in the summer of 1981 the Toxteth community rose up against endemic police racism. Using contemporaneous interviews and documents, first published in Law, Order and the Authoritarian State and revisited in Power Conflict and Criminalisation, this talk reflects on the context, circumstances and impact of – and resistance to – institutionalised racism within the police.

Phil Scraton is Professor of Criminology in the School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast. His most recent publications are: Power, Conflict and Criminalisation (2007); Hillsborough: The Truth (2009); The Violence of Incarceration (2009); Childhood in Transition: Experiencing Marginalisation and Conflict in Northern Ireland (2009); The Incarceration of Women (forthcoming)

The Casa, 29 Hope Street, L1 9BQ

Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Entry: £4/£2 pay on door

Saturday  28th May

Pulp Idol Final

Join us for the nail-biting finale of Pulp Idol, Writing on the Wall’s unique competition for new and unpublished writers. Writers will be reading from the first chapter of their novel, and hoping they’ll be the one to get closest to the big publishing deal – expect a grilling from the judges!

The Leaf Café, Bold Street, L1 4EZ

Time: 7pm – 9pm

Entry: £3/£2 pay on the door (includes entry into the After Party)

Saturday  28th May

Festival After Party

Featuring DJs, spoken word and a performance by the precociously talented, Cecille Grey.

8 til late.

The Leaf Café, Bold Street.

Entry: £3/£2 pay on the door


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