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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An Overdub of The Vanity of National Grandeur

Robert Sheppard 

An Overdub of The Vanity of National Grandeur
by Citizen John Thelwall (1795):
‘Ill fares the land to giddy lust of power’
It took Covid-19 to topple Boris’s giddy lust,
zigzagging virality of virility. The bong-gong
his near knell. He shifted Victory (over) Europe Day
around his post-Brexit holiday calendar. Adjust
in Time. The cheated hand waves the pennant
to We’re Meat Again as spitfires spit universal spores.
Labour is a sponge squeezed dry. Who was that Masked
Psilosopher? My curious hand shakes at his suffictions.
A consolation consul, he’s got a creamy tub of poesy
into which he stirs radicalism like jam. Frontline
is always somewhere/somebody else, hi-viz patrols
to broken train tracks. Thunder affords unsympathetic
background, scowling backdrop to his latest Skype.
His pocket awakes into rising alarm.

Robert Sheppard's selected poems, History or Sleep, The Robert Sheppard Companion, a book of essays on his work, and his imminent next book, The English Strain are published by Shearsman.



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