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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The Last Post -Turning Over a New Leaf

Fiona Linday

Nostalgic Ecopoetry after the WB walk for City Arts Soundscape
 
Taking my last walk in the country park just a few weeks ago,
before the gates were locked, I remained positive, even carefree.
If only I heard what the birds were manically chirping about then,
I may well have found myself doing the New Normal differently...
 
Instead, our group of creative, middle-aged women (bar one gent!)
meandered, listening to wildlife and absorbing the wonder of nature.
As God’s paintbrush swept a green palette to add browns and yellows
until purple and orange hues graced a lawn with crocus furniture.
 
Our intention- to observe the joys of Mother Nature on the hoof.
We bow below an arch taking time to hear the echoed swishing
of knitted, wiry willow branches thick with waxy, bursting buds.
To stroke a delicate sculpture as sparrows perch above, whittling.
 
I missed a blackbird squawk warnings of a curved ball thrown
by an overseas wild species, including that variety of bat I find
had since infected us by sneezing out a cloud of deadly virus.
We’re hi-jacked by no worries fake news sent on the grapevine.
 
Absorbing germs, the treetop saxophone blew a loud melody
before the storm whipped up an apocalyptic, chorus on a gale.
In this vital outdoor space blessed by a cacophony of songbird
Little did I know, the denied right to roam prevented more trail.
 
To God, I’m thankful you are the same today, as before
and tomorrow the birds will sing along to a country dance.
Where you listen to sparrows merrily chortle from a sand pit
the blackbirds shout a warning to stay away. No chance!
 
The branches understood social distancing, even back then.
When humans were still sniffing a bitter pandemic scent
Ash trees grew long roots to help prevent their die back, so
we need to learn how these ancient, tactile fir trees bent.
 
Tomorrow, you’ll touch and hug your family group and friends.
Please, gladly listen careful to embrace everyone’s perfect age.
Appreciate the birds’ instinctive desire to keep a safe distance.
Tomorrow is another day; try next the rebuilding nests stage.
 
Out of the mouths of the forgiven, wild species babes adapt
to fly in harmony with you together up those mature treetops.
Go record issues fairly printed on recycled handmade paper
until, the unhealthy battle between creation and people stops.
 
 
Now, dig for victory while listening to climate change warnings
and I pray you live together breathing fresh air for another day.
This last post I leave to you as a legacy from a new life and
my turn a new leaf prayer aims to sustain your extended stay.
 



Fiona Linday is an East Midlands author and facilitator of creative writing. Recent collaborations include Attenborough Arts Centre Learners in Family Matters Anthology (Dahlia Publishing, 2019).
 
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