Liverpool’s acclaimed Writing on the Wall Festival returns next month with a line-up of famous names to celebrate its 21st anniversary.

WoWFEST: 21 Years of Radical Writing will run online throughout May. This year’s festival will again be sponsored by the Institute for Creative Enterprise at Edge Hill University.

Martin McQuillan, Director of the Institute for Creative Enterprise, said: “The Institute for Creative Enterprise at Edge Hill University is delighted once again to support the Writing on the Wall Festival.

“In its 21st year, the line-up is as bold and vital as ever. Writing on the Wall has certainly left its mark on the city of Liverpool and has proven that literature and the written word cannot be erased even by a pandemic!”

The festival will see headliners including, film-maker Ken Loach, Children’s author and poet, Michael Rosen and television presenter, Jon Snow, all making appearances.

They will be joined by Maxine Hong-Kingston, the Chinese American author and Professor at the University of California; Singer, song-writer, Tracey Thorn and crime fiction American novelist, Walter Mosley.

Lady Phyll, the British political activist and co-founder of UK Black Pride, together with Elif Shafak, a Turkish-British writer and women’s rights activist, are among the other guests.

The festival promises to have something for everyone, from children through to adults, with guests from a wide range of backgrounds and covering a hugely diverse range of topics.

Mike Morris and Madeline Heneghan, Co-Directors of Writing on the Wall, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating our 21st year of WoWFEST this year.

“21 is certainly not just a number – we are proud to be marking 21 years of radical writing. This is a celebration of all we stand for and all we continually strive to achieve.

“We have some really significant names lined up, from leading iconic film makers, to Booker prize winners, legendary legal minds, musicians, spoken word artists, campaigners, activists and local writers and artists.

“These are just the first eight headline names to be announced but we are looking forward to revealing further high-profile names in the coming weeks.”

All of the sessions will be virtual and interactive with audience members being encouraged to ask questions and interact with the speakers following their performances/presentations.

Mike and Madeline added: “For 21 years Writing on the Wall has transformed lives, published countless new authors, discovered lost voices, campaigned against racism, discrimination and inequality in all its forms and pushed local, national and international issues in their fight for justice.

“All of this, together with inspiring local communities through creativity to address mental health, domestic abuse, women’s rights, refugees and asylum seekers, Trans rights and much, much more.”

Writing on the Wall, which earlier this year was named as Arts Organisation of the Year in the Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards, came to life following the 1995-1998 lockout of the Liverpool Dockers and the creation of the film, Dockers, which aired on Channel 4 in 1999.

This sparked the idea for a month-long festival of artists which is backed by Arts Council England.

Since its launch, the event has touched the lives of thousands of people and helped to launch the careers of many successful writers and spoken word artists and performers. 

The festival continued last year, despite Covid, with a hugely successful virtual event, during which more than 40 events were held with more than 80k people being reached.

 A series of competitions will also be held as part of the festival this year.

To celebrate the 21st anniversary, Writing on the Wall is offering guests a special early bird festival pass for just £21 for entry to all festival events.

Full details, together with early bird information in relation to special ticket prices, are available from:

Twitter: @wowfest 


Instagram: @wow_fest

Find out more about Writing on the Wall and its projects with local communities: