Writing on the Wall presents a new digital writing and literary festival for our times

Writing on the Wall presents a new digital writing and literary festival for our times: WoWFEST LOCKDOWN, featuring Noam Chomsky, Nikesh Shukla, Irvine Welsh, A L Kennedy, Sharna Jackson, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Francesca Martinez and many more

In these unprecedented times WoW is proud to present our brand new digital programme – WoWFest20: Lockdown. We recognise the value creative writing and literature has in these unprecedented and trying times and that now, more than ever, the significance of how we connect and create is being challenged in lockdown measures.

WoWFest: Lockdown brings you an inspiring and passionate collection of artists to help us all through these difficult times and galvanise us towards reshaping the new normal once lockdown can be lifted. Featuring acclaimed writer and scholar Noam ChomskyTrainspotting author Irvine Welsh, renowned theatre-critic Lyn Gardner, acclaimed editor and writer Nikesh Shukla, multi-award-winning short story writer AL Kennedy, comedian Francesca Martinez, writer and philosopher Raoul Martinez, journalist Maya Goodfellow, Muslim Drag Queen’s Glamrou and Asifa Lahore, activist and psychiatrist Dr. Mona Kamal. Showcasing the best of Liverpool talent as well with La Violette Società Light Night spoken word performances, a specially curated Lockdown playlist from Roger Hill, a life-writing workshop with author Tony Wailey, and a screening of The Football Men documentary with panel discussion from Lizzi Doyle from the Anfield Wrap, author Emy Onuora, and journalist Brian Reade with spoken word responses from Amina Atiq and Ash Nugent

WoW has played a critical role as one of the longest running writing and literary organisations in the country, in bringing the best of culture from across the country and internationally to audiences throughout the Liverpool City Region. 

The Big Book Weekend (TBBW) is a three-day virtual festival that brings together the best of the cancelled British festivals, with a range of events ‘sponsored’ by the relevant festival, featuring the authors and other artists that would have appeared. It has been co-founded by the authors Kit de Waal and Molly Flatt, is supported by The British Broadcasting Association (BBC) and Arts Council England, and will be hosted by MyVLF. 

As well as keeping book lovers in touch with the artists and festivals they love, it offers an opportunity to engage with a whole new audience who may have previously been unable to attend a literary festival due to geography, access or cost. The founders are deeply committed to ensuring that the BBW reflects all of the communities across the UK, and the widest choice of reading tastes. 


Highlight events:

For links to ALL EVENTS – see https://www.wowfest.uk/about-wowfest2020.html

Irvine Welsh: Creativity In A Time Of Chaos

Thursday 7th May 2020, 6pm, Facebook Live

Opening WoWFest: Lockdown, internationally renowned bestselling and often controversial author Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting, Ecstasy, Maribou Stork Nightmares), delivers a keynote speech for our time: Creativity in a Time of Chaos. The Corona Virus Pandemic and lockdown has simultaneously thrown our lives into chaos and put them hold, changed our daily routine, with work cancelled or postponed or taken a new, dramatic shape, as our social schedules move online and we consider how much news we can handle today. Join us for what will no doubt be one of the most refreshing and relevant takes on the times we are living through and how we can survive and connect with ourselves, audiences and our communities through creativity.

A.L. Kennedy In Conversation: We Are Attempting To Survive Our Time

Sunday 10th May 2020, 12pm, www.bigbookweekend.com

Presented by The Big Book Weekend and My VLF, WoWFest are pleased to bring you A.L. Kennedy in Conversation with Professor Ailsa Cox. We Are Attempting To Survive Our Time is A.L. Kennedy’s new collection of wry, caustic and unsparing fiction, examining human relationships and their failures. Hosted by the UK’s first Professor of Short Fiction, Ailsa Cox; dive into the world of short story telling with these two masters of the art.

You Can Clap for Me Now: BAME Perspectives from the frontline

Wednesday 13th May 2020, 6pm, Facebook Live

In all the confusion around coronavirus, one thing is clear; BAME communities are disproportionately more affected, making up 72% of all NHS and carer deaths. Due to Hostile Environment policies, BAME and immigrant communities are also more likely to be living in low-income households and in overcrowded conditions. It’s been called the Great Equaliser, yet it would seem some equalisers are greater and more equal than others for some. Speaking on these complex but vitally important issues are NHS psychiatrist and activist Dr Mona Kamal, journalist and Hostile Environment: how immigrants became scapegoats author Maya Goodfellow and Chief Executive of Race Equality Foundation Jabeer Butt. Chaired by writer and lecturer Emy Onuora.

Noam Chomsky: Letter from America

Thursday 14th May, 6pm, Facebook Live

In this ‘Letter From America’, created exclusively for Writing on the wall, Noam Chomsky responds to current events and the response of the United States leadership of President Donald Trump, and explores the growth of populist governments in many are across the world, as a continuum of the strategy of neo-liberal politics. Due to its dominance in the globalised economy, the world looks to America daily, perhaps even more so during lockdown to see the government’s latest response to the pandemic. The sometimes shocking, often ridiculous stories that arise from Trump’s leadership baffle communities around the world, indicating a deeper, more sinister governmental priority. Amidst anti-lockdown protests, a leader pushing to lift lockdown measures so he can get back on the campaign trail, against his own administration’s policy, then suggests injecting with disinfectant may cure the coronavirus. It’s a world gone wrong, one that’s been going wrong for some time. Don’t try to adjust it, it’s not your TV that’s broken.

Nikesh Shukla: The Boxer

Monday 18th May 2020, 3pm, Facebook Live

The Boxer, from acclaimed writer Nikesh Shukla, tells, over the course of the ten rounds of his first fight, the story of amateur boxer Sunny. A seventeen-year old, feeling isolated and disconnected in the city he’s just moved to, Sunny joins a boxing club to learn to protect himself after a racist attack. He finds the community he’s been desperately seeking at the club, and a mentor in trainer Shobu, who helps him find his place in the world. But racial tensions are rising in the city, and when a Far Right march through Bristol turns violent, Sunny is faced with losing his new best friend Keir to radicalisation. A gripping, life-affirming YA novel about friendship, radicalisation and finding where you belong.

Building A Better World: arts and civic responsibility

Monday 25th May, 6pm, Facebook Live

The role of arts and culture arts organisations as being central to our lives has been pushed to the forefront during the coronavirus lockdown. Reaching out from beyond the quiet city streets and buildings, arts organisations are offering engaging activity for audiences to watch, listen, read, take part in and enjoy. Without art in its endless forms, the lockdown would impact much more on our mental health and emotional well-being. The arts now, in every form, more than ever, supports those most in need; to uplift, inspire, and engage, offering us creativity to combat the known and unknown effects of the lockdown. Theatre critic Lyn Garnder and WoW’s Co-Director Madeline Heneghan will be discussing the arts and its civic responsibility now, and in the new future we emerge into post-lockdown.

Unicorn: The Diary of a Muslim Drag Queen

Thursday 28th May, 6pm, Facebook Live

Amrou Al-Kadhi went from a god-fearing Muslim boy enraptured with their mother, to Glamrou; a vocal, queer drag queen estranged from their family, this is a heart-breaking and hilarious memoir about the author’s fight to be true to themselves, chaired by Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen Asifa Lahore.

Questioning The Status Quo: Francesca and Raoul Martinez In Conversation

Friday 29th May 2020, 6pm, Facebook Live

Sibling writers, comic, actress and political activist Francesca Martinez and philosopher, artist and filmmaker Raoul Martinez, shed much needed light on the domino effect Covid-19 is having on the various systems we live and work within. The Covid-19 pandemic is revealing many issues within the many systems we live within, exposing deep racial inequalities, pulling the rug from under businesses big and small, changing how we work, the prices and availability of necessary products, how we teach and educate our children, and how politicians campaign and our access to vital healthcare. It can be overwhelming to engage with these changes regardless of how affected we may or may not be. We may not even be aware of the extent of many of these changes.

For links to ALL EVENTS – see https://www.wowfest.uk/about-wowfest2020.html