Black History Month @ WoW

The global Black Lives Matter protests that characterised our summer were truly inspirational. Black communities and anti-racists across the globe are demanding change. Writing on the Wall are proud to present our programme for Black History month featuring some of the most inspirational local, national and international black artists, creatives and activists, featuring Man Booker Prize winner, Jamaican writer Marlon James and Berkeley Professor Stephen Small; Afrofuturist author and filmmaker Ytasha Womack returns from Chicago to take up residency on the Writing Bloc, and We are also delighted to welcome George DomanToni HickmanKeith Jones and Leroy Moore, US Krip Hop activists and stars of the Netflix documentary Phoenix Rising.

Throwing themselves into the debate around the Decolonization of Curriculums, are Dr Leona Vaughnwhile the 1919 Walking Tours, Mandela 8, the L8 Archive and The Windrush Music projects reveal hidden histories. Sophie Williams will be discussing her new book, How To Be An Anti-Racist Ally, and we see the return of the multi-talented Black Girl Lit Club. Arena Films dig into their archive to present Linton Kwesi Johnson’s A Caribbean Journey, with contemporary discussions and poetic responses from Karen McCarthy-WoolfAshleigh NugentLevi Tafari,  Olive SeniorColin GrantDanielle Boodoo-Fortuné and Vladimir Lucien.

Bringing the struggle home, Kim Johnson MP, Liverpool’s first black MP, and Tracey Gore, the newly appointed chair of the city’s Race Task force, will consider how we level the playing field in Liverpool, while films from WoW’s Time to Breathe writing project portray just how pressing that it is.  Throw children’s Story Time into the mix and there’s something for everyone. We look forward to seeing you throughout October.

As the President of the ‘free world’ dog whistles to white supremacists and in the UK  black people are increasingly targeted by police and far right thugs line our shores to beat back those fleeing war and famine, the most pressing questions now for the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racists everywhere is ‘What’s Next?’  Throughout  WoW’s Black History Month we will explore this question, and invite you to celebrate great writing and performance and engage in discussion and debate on these vital issues.


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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. 

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Poem for A Crisis

Joe Moran

Never let a crisis go to waste.
Now is the perfect time
to repaint your dining-room chairs
organise your kitchen cupboards
colour-code your spice rack
clear out your desk drawers
and repair your bird box.
These are strange times
but even stranger
is why you’ve left it so long
to go through every thing in your closet
and put it in piles:
sell, customise, upcycle.
When you walk up the stairs
pretend you are climbing the Pyramids.
Run a marathon on your patio.
You can knock up a barbell
from bamboo and biscuit tins filled with rice.
And while you’re at it
why not build a climbing wall in your garage
and then ride to Berlin on your exercise bike?
Make a delicious meal from your pantry staples:
soba noodles and furikake.
It’s amazing what you can do
with half a fennel bulb.
Can’t get hold of seeds?
Pick them out of a pepper.
Draw up a learning contract with your pets.
Now there’s no excuse
not to read Infinite Jest.
Teach yourself to code.
If not now, when?
Police are patrolling in your area
issuing on-the-spot fines
to anyone who hasn’t learnt to make sourdough bread.
This is the new normal:
Get used to it.
Reset your life.

Joe Moran is Professor of English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University, whose writings have been published in the Guardian, the New Statesman, and the Financial Times. His most recent book is Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness (Yale UP, 2017).



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