“We have been blown away by the levels of support for this”

Speakers at the event include – Irvine Welsh, Noam Chomsky, AL Kennedy, Brian Reade, Rosie Jones, Jeremy Corbyn & Levi Tafari

Originally a week-long festival for the millennium in 2000, Writing on the Wall has grown into an annual event, spanning the month of May.

Set to have been the biggest year yet to mark its 20th anniversary, the team at WoWFEST swiftly adapted when it became clear that covid-19 restrictions would scupper all existing plans.

Re-imagining this year’s festival as WoWFEST: LOCKDOWN, all events will be hosted on-line and are free with ticket donations going to Fans Supporting Foodbanks, South Liverpool Domestic Abuse Services and Writing on the Wall’s community programmes.

Edge Hill has developed a strong relationship with the Arts-Council-funded charity, supporting its events to ensure the widest possible access to creative projects for the people of Liverpool.

For the second year running, the University’s Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE) is proud to be supporting the festival.

ICE Director, Professor Martin McQuillan said,

“We are delighted to be working once again with Liverpool’s premiere written word festival. This year’s line-up is spectacular and it is vital to keep the creative economy of the city region up and running during this challenging period of lockdown. At this moment words, thoughts, and feelings are more important than ever.”

In typical WoWFEST style, the programme is made up of a wide range of events, encompassing poetry, creative writing, politics, sport and much more. 

Irvine Welsh, internationally renowned bestselling author, opened the festival on 7 May with a keynote speech was. Known for Trainspotting, Marabou Stork Nightmares, and Filth, Welsh hosted a lively event discussing creativity in a time of chaos. 

This year’s line-up features academics from Edge Hill including Professor Victor Merriman who will be curating a lockdown-themed exhibition on WoWFEST’s webpage (wowfest.uk). On 10 May, Professor Ailsa Cox is joined by novelist A.L. Kennedy (Looking for the Possible Dance, Night Geometry and the Grascadden Trains) to present a reading of her newest collection, Attempting To Survive Our Time.  

WoWFEST: LOCKDOWN is already into its second week with plenty more to look forward to. Over the next fortnight, there is the chance to catch an exclusive live stream conversation of The Football Men, a workshop on Life Writing with Tony Wailer and an evening with Rosie Jones, comedian and writer of the Netflix hit show, Sex Education.  

A photo of Mike Morris, the WoW Co-Director.
Mike Morris, WoW Co-Director

Mike Morris, Co-Director of Writing on the Wall said:

“We have been blown away by the levels of support for this, our first ever completely digital festival. Feedback from audiences has confirmed how important it has been for us to continue to deliver strong cultural engagement to local communities, and new audiences around the country and worldwide, some of whom are discovering WoW for the first time”.

The full line-up and ticket information can be found here.