You’re Invited to a Revolution!
Featuring: Akala * Ian McMillan & Tony Husband * China Miéville * Yasmin Alibhai-Brown * Henry Normal * Geoff Travis * Francesca Martinez Joanna Harris * Phil Scraton * Fred D’Aguiar *Gary Younge* Chris Riddell * Natalie Bennett * Raoul Martinez * Howard Gayle * Ohbot the Robot!
Events: May Day Parade * Time For Action * Tax The Robots * Food Revolutionaries * Indie-pendence Day * The Oompa Loompa of Doom and the Brexit Elephant in the Room * Punk Survivors * Rebel Women * Time to Rhyme
1st – 26th May 2017
2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, a defining moment of the 20th Century. One hundred years on the richest 1% now have more wealth than the rest of the world’s population combined, tens of thousands of migrants die each year while here in the UK working families face a huge squeeze on their living standards and the most vulnerable are at the sharp edge as benefits are withdrawn and essential services axed.
A General Election has been announced – Change is in the air. The vote for Brexit and the election of Donald Trump challenges many of the accepted orthodoxies held since the end of the Second World War. ‘Where are we now?’. Are we moving forwards or backwards; is the curve of revolution taking us up or down? WoWFest 2017 invites artists, activists, journalists, commentators and audiences to explore the impact of these changes, delving too into issues that impact on the way we live; Robots, Artificial Intelligence, immigration and the preservation of our environment.
Festival Launch – May 1st Mayday Parade
Assemble 12.30pm Toxteth Library
We are holding a May Day Parade, celebrating past struggles with the launch of the autobiography of Liverpool writer and activist George Garrett (1896-1936), inviting communities across Merseyside to make their voice heard on low-pay, cuts in benefits, homelessness & discrimination. The parade will be led by a giant George Garrett Model created by renowned artist Brian Hanlon. It is supported by the Liverpool Mayor’s office and Northwest TUC.
Mike Morris Co-Director of Writing on the Wall says
‘George Garrett’s autobiography, written in 1936 and discovered in a suitcase his family donated to The George Garrett Archive Project, is an incredible find. It’s publication by Liverpool University Press of George Garrett’s autobiography, Ten Years On The Parish, with foreword by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, is cause for celebration. Garrett represents the essence of the city of Liverpool’s creative, maverick and socially committed character.
Festivals within a Festival
Within WoWFest2017 there will be a number of unique all day events held on Saturdays throughout the month. Time for Action examines the Post Trump post Brexit political terrain, an Indie-pendence Publishing Day and Tax the Robots, exploring the impact of technology on our lives.
Time for Action! – Saturday 6th May
The Black – E, 1 Great George St, Liverpool L1 5EW
Featuring… Akala, Gary Younge, Francesca Martinez, Natalie Bennett, Raoul Martinez, Chris Nineham, Tom Barlow, Tom Mills, Kerry-Anne Mendoza, Martha Spurrier, Michael Dougan, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff and many more!
Writing on the Wall has assembled a stunning line-up of front-line writers, authors, journalists, broadcasters, film-makers, commentators and performers who are exploring and inspiring new ways of organising in this ever-changing, politically charged environment.
Whatever your views on Brexit, Trump, current politics and culture, WoWFest 2017 is a platform and a safe space for people from diverse walks of life to come together to express their views, build networks, and seek answers to the questions: ‘Where are we now, and where do we go from here?’
Journalist and writer Gary Younge will launch Time for Action! with an opening address, followed by panel discussions ‘I’m not racist but…’ ‘Fake it till you make it – FAKE NEWS! In a Post-truth world’, ‘Brexit Britain – Bright or Broken?’ and an exclusive interview with Raoul Martinez.
Award-winning performers Akala and Francesca Martinez combine to present an evening of sharp, intelligent and very funny spoken word and comedy you will not want to miss.
Tax the Robots – Saturday 13th May
Featuring a Rebel Rant by Ohbot the Robot. Central library, William Brown Street
Speakers include: Liverpool University’s Will Slocombe, writer Matthew de Abaitua, and computer scientist Louise Dennis, Liverpool Geek Girls, Lynn Collins – Northwest TUC Brhmie Balaram – RSA Sharing Economy, James Farrar who took up the legal case against Uber, Scottish Councillor Matt Kerr who supports the Universal Basic Income & Ohbot the Robot!
Recent reports in the UK suggest that ‘robots’, or software programmes, could replace up to 250,000 white collar jobs in the next few years; a Japanese insurance company recently laid off 80 staff and replaced them with robots. 02 in the UK are considering doing the same. In Liverpool, Merseyrail staff are striving to prevent their own jobs being outsourced to autonomous colleagues.
The response of some during the industrial revolution was to smash up the machines; should we too become ‘luddites’ or is there another way? Head of Microsoft, Bill Gates, is just one voice calling for us to tax the robots as a way to ease the transition to an autonomous work force and ensure that the payments from human workers into tax and national insurance, the bedrock of health and social care, are not lost. Employers, ever intent on cutting overheads, are eyeing up robots as a way of driving down labour costs. But weren’t robots, and tech generally, meant to free us, give us more leisure time and take the heavy load from us?
To discuss the implications of tech and robots and explore new ways of living, we have writers, trade unionists, activists, workers, and commentators taking part in a series of panels and activities, including writing creative responses to explore and discuss the impact of technologies on our lives now and in the future.
Indie-pendence Day & Pulp Idol Final – Saturday 20th May
The Black – E, 1 Great George St, Liverpool L1 5EW
A day devoted to exploring independent publishing, new platforms in the digital age, and options for writers – to self-publish or stick with the ‘old guard’.
Should authors embrace digital, and in the process wrest control of publishing from the ‘old guard’? Isn’t mainstream publishing still dominated by middle-aged, upper-class white men? Or does digital self-publishing, lead to a deterioration in quality, with self-published authors admitting they won’t pass the test of the big publishing houses?
Indie-pendence Day, with unique insights from leaders in the field including head of Inpress Publishing Sophie O’Neill, will explore all these issues and offer writers practical support and advice through panels, workshops and one-to-one mentoring. You can hear the novelists of the future at our Pulp Idol Grand Finale, with the winners of the heats reading from their first chapters, hoping to get the judges wanting to read more and looking to win the prestigious top-spot and get their work read by a major agent or publisher. It’s fun, exciting, and always top quality writing.
Other Highlights: The first round of guests up for revolutionary debate are writers China Miéville, John Rees and Kate Evans at ‘Revolution!’ on Wed 3rd May; comedy, music and verse from Henry Normal, Ian McMillan and Joanne Harris; revolutionary musical tales from Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis; festival favourite Phil Scraton returns; Chris Riddell, Children’s Laureate & Cartoonist for the Observer will be drawing and talking for children and adults; Dave Randall, guitarist from Faithless joins Peter Hooton to discuss his new book on the political power of music at Leaf Café on 26th May.
Madeline Heneghan, Co-Director of Writing on the Wall, says
‘ In these globally turbulent times, artistic production and creativity has a vital role to play: it can bring people together, really get them thinking critically and motivated for change. We are proud and delighted to present a programme packed with radical writers, outrageous comedy and crucial debates for WoWFest 2017.’