About WoWfest

This year, we never could have imagined the festival would have such a sharp and immediate resonance with global and political developments happening in the lead up to and throughout the festival and we are proud to be an important part of Liverpool’s culture. We do exactly what it says on the tin here at Writing On The Wall, holding both a mirror and a canvas to reflect and present the diverse and complex perspectives and experience we find ourselves in.
 
We kicked off the festival with a march through the streets, making ourselves heard with the words of George Garrett leading the way. It was a loud festival with a strong literary presence of over twenty high profile writers taking part, plus many other spoken word artists, both new and established on the roster. Audiences across the entire festival made themselves heard too, with many of our guests complimenting the informed, thoughtful and often challenging questions posed to them.

It was a festival of firsts with the Robot Rebel Rant delivered by OhBot. Speaking out against the negative press about autonomous labour OhBot delivered an elegant speech, with the programming support from Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic High School. It was also an international discussion, with one of the early highlights being the powerful, emotional words of Thomas Tonatiuh Lopez of the Indigenous Youth Council of North Dakota speaking about his work at the Standing Rock Dakota Pipeline protest. 
 
Personal Highlights
Starting off the festival with the gigantic George Garrett statue made by local model-maker Brian Hanlon leading two thousand people through the streets of Liverpool was a special moment, and a proud culmination of a huge amount of work The Garretteers. To ‘hear’ Garrett speak (with voice ably supplied by his grandson, Sean) was moving and inspirational. It was natural to imagine what George himself would have made of all this. I feel we did him proud. Launching Ten Years On The Parish in Waterstones Liverpool One was a chance for me and my fellow editors, as well as the Garretteers, to talk about the book itself. Tony Wailey, Andy Davies and I have put in many hours on the writing and editing of the autobiography, with others who deserve thanks who transcribed and proofread for us, and to see Garretts autobiography realised in print in the festival was something I won’t forget in a hurry.
– Mike Morris, Co-Director
 
I loved Time For Action at The Black-E. Book-ended with a keynote speech from Gary Younge and an uplifting, informative performance from Akala, the day pinned down some of the urgent issues we’re all facing today. Audiences came out in droves and the spirit of WowFest came alive. We don’t shy away from being outspoken and this day reflected that with heated discussions across guests and audiences.
Madeline Heneghan, Co-Director

My favourite day has to be when we welcome Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell for two back-to-back events. I work a lot in schools and to see three-hundred pupils come to Central Library and be so excited, attentive and cheerful was an amazing thing to be a part of. I loved watching Chris illustrate his stories live, making a blank page come alive with magic and humour. I also got my own picture done as a birthday present from Chris himself – you can’t fault that at all!
– Emma Hulme, Project Manager
 
I thought our events with the Women’s Org were all fascinating, and much needed. My all-round favourite was Rebel Women. Dashni, Sabrina and Margaret were an excellent trio as they complimented each other’s stories; the humour, the tragedy, the courage and the resilience.It was hugely emotional and uplifting at the same time, and the performances left us feeling stronger and ready to tackle more injustices in the world. 
Alice Mason, Admin & Social Media
 
Getting into Studio 2 with the young artists I’d worked with at Merseyside Youth Association, alongside the effervescent Debris Stevenson, was a lovely way to spend any day! I was immensely proud of them and had my mind opened by Debris’ incomparable work. Being new to Liverpool, hosting Light Night was probably my favourite event. I felt absolutely welcomed to the city, and it was a pleasure to share the stage with so many amazing, local performers.
Ciarán Hodgers, Project Manager