WoW Fest 2015

Writing on the Wall’s star spangled programme of spoken word, theatre, film, discussion and debate returns on the 1 May with the theme ‘American Dreams’.

From Wall Street to Water Street, Liverpool’s literary links to America, and specifically New York, are mapped out and explored in a celebration featuring New York/US based writers, Innovative Theatre and bang up to the moment Spoken Word artists. Join WoW on a transatlantic journey through the wild, strange frenzy of the shared maritime history of these two iconic port cities.

The line-up includes Walter Mosley, Jon Ronson, Strictly Harlem, Tracey Thorn, Owen Jones, Lemn Sissay, Marvel Comics, Ryan Gattis, Camilo José Vergara, Yasmin Alibhai Brown and Salena Godden.

WoW’s usual eclectic mix of high quality writers and artists will return in events dealing with race and football, feminism and economics, government by deceit. life in Gaza, women in the music business, aid in Sudan and Jewish identity and writing.

The acclaimed Pulp Idol and Flash Fiction competitions open the way for new writers to get published.

Writing on the Wall’s Co-Director Madeline Heneghan said: “‘WoW Fest 2015 American Dream reflects the city’s celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Cunard Shipping Line celebrations; the original transatlantic information superhighway.

“WoW are flying over an array of amazing American authors and artists, including Shayshahn MacPherson, an incredibly talented New York hip hop violinist; Ryan Gattis, a writer from L.A. set to take the literary world by storm with his explosive debut novel All Involved about the 1992 L.A. Riots, and culminates in a rare UK appearance from the internationally acclaimed crime writer, Walter Mosley on 2nd July.

“Once again, with American Dreams, Writing on the Wall brings to Liverpool audiences a superb mix of new and established artists, alternative voices, high quality writing and spoken word, with plenty of opportunities for new writers. American Dreams is the perfect lead-in to Culture Liverpool’s ‘One Magnificent City’ celebration on the 4th July weekend.”


Friday 1st May: America / Amerika.

Shayshahn MacPherson, hip hop violinist and spoken-word artist, joins us all the way from The Bronx,  New York City, to launch WoW Fest 2015. Shay has worked with many outstanding artists including Eryka Badu, Bobby Valentino and Angie Stone, performing internationally with the Classical Theatre of Harlem.

8pm till Late. Leaf, 65-67 Bold Street, L1 4EZ

£6/£4 Tickets: The Philharmonic Hall

0151 709 3789


Saturday 2nd May: Granby 4 Streets Showcase.

Stories, poetry and music performed by the What’s Your Granby Story? group, exploring the heritage and the future of the ‘heart of Liverpool 8’. Open mic spots available so share your Granby Story and grab yourself a bargain from Granby Four Streets Market. Hosted by the inimitable Curtis Watt. In Partnership with Granby 4 Streets CLT.

1-3pm Corner of Ducie Street & Granby Street, L8 2XA. Free


May 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd: George Garrett : A Scouse Seaman in New York During The Jazz Age

Workshops exploring the life of merchant seaman, writer and playwright George Garrett, who lived in New York between 1921 and 1926.

Garrett’s experience of America in New York in 1918 at the end of the war, revealed the flip side of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Jazz Age’. Not for him the endless parties and pointless conversations, but rather the daily struggle to work and keep on working.  In post-war New York, with mass immigration, especially with Irish, Jewish and Italian communities, and a boom-time economy, people from all strata of society shared a feeling of hope; they were poor, but they were rich with ideas. Garrett finds himself here, earning good money, but also starting to write.
Join writer and archive tutor Tony Wailey and The Garretteers, to find out more about the life and work of this globetrotting Liverpool writer.

1pm – 2.30pm. Cunard Building. Water Street, L3 1QB

Free. See for details.


Sunday 3rd, 10th, 17th May: WoW at The Enchanted Reading Forest

WoW will be showcasing some of the finest local writers at Liverpool ONE’s Enchanted Reading Forest this May. Renowned performers and writers host a series of spectacular events in the heart of Liverpool City Centre. Performances from poets, singers, spoken-word artists and award-winning novelists, plus special guests to be announced…

1 – 2pm Liverpool One Reading Trees, Liverpool ONE, L1 8JQ

Tuesday 5th May: A Curious Nation: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

Award winning journalist and broadcaster Yasmin Alibhai-Brown The Independent, The Guardian, discusses her latest book Exotic England: The Making of a Curious Nation, taking a fresh look at ‘Englishness’ and how the nation’s desire for adventure has shaped English culture.6pm – 7.30pm. News From Nowhere. 96 Bold Street, L1 4HY. £5/£3 Pay on Door


Wednesday 6th May: Tribute to Dinesh Allirajah

An evening to celebrate the writing achievements of Dinesh Allirajah who passed away in December 2014.  Speakers will include Levi Tafari, Robert Shepherd, Ra Page, Eleanor Rees and others to be confirmed; with live and recorded music reflecting Dinesh’s eclectic taste. Presented by George McKane of Yellow House.

7:00pm, the Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool, L1 3BX

Tickets: the Bluecoat, 0151 702 5324,


Friday 8th May: Pitch Black: The Story of Black British Footballers

Join Liverpool born writer Emy Onuora, and ex-Birmingham City footballer Richie Moran for this unique and timely book launch.

Pitch Black is the story in their own words of British-born black footballers from the 1970s to today, many of whose achievements were made in the face of monkey chanting and banana throwing.

The Kuumba Imani Millenium Centre, 4 princes Road, L8 1TH

£6/£3 The Philharmonic Hall. 0151 709 3789


Saturday 9th May: Strictly Harlem

Jump on the A-Train for a celebration of the writers, dancers and artists that formed the cultural, social, and artistic explosion of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s: Lindy Hop dance, poetry, spoken word and crime fiction. This uptown spectacular promises to be a hot ticket!

The Black-E, 1 St Georges Street, L1 5E

1pm – 3.30pm Lindy Hop Workshop: Join Mersey Swing for a crash course in this addictive 1920’s street dance, then swing your than’g at the Strictly Harlem after-party.
£4/£2 Pay on door. Booking advisable:

4.30 – 6pm Chester Himes: A Rage from Harlem: Crime writers Courttia Newland, Pete Kalu and Karline Smith explore the work of this one time convict, best known for A Rage in Harlem, who became a towering figure of the American literary tradition

£4/£2 Pay on door. Booking advisable:
6pm -7.30pm Soul food on sale. Licensed Bar.
7.30pm Р9pm Harlem Nights: Celebrated poet Lemn Sissay tops the bill in this music and spoken word spectacular: Award winning performer, Tayo Aluko, poet and broadcaster, Salena Godden, Gil Scott-Heron prot̩g̩, Malik al Nazir. Special guest from The Bronx, Hip Hop violinist Shayshahn MacPherson. Followed by the Strictly Harlem After Party. Bring those dancing shoes for a Harlem Shuffle.After Party 9pm till Late!

£10 & £8 Philharmonic Hall 0151 709 3789

All day and night passes £12 & £10 available from the Philharmonic Hall Box Office

Monday 11th May: What’s Your Story? Showcase

Join WoW’s latest group of What’s Your Story? writers to celebrate the publication of their anthology after taking part in a 24 week creative writing course that supports and promotes first time writers and gets their work published. Books will be available to buy on the night.

7.30pm, Siren, 54 Saint James Street,L1 0AB



Tuesday 12th May: JEBEL MARRA – Foreign aid and corruption in Darfur

When war breaks out a swarm of aid industries quickly descend on the conflict like a second wave of invaders. Never more so than in 2004 when Darfur, in western Sudan, erupted into civil war. Join us for an evening with author Michelle Green and aid specialist Róisín Read.

7.30pm, News From Nowhere, 96 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4HY

£4/£2 Pay on door


Wednesday 13th May: Brunt Boggart, A Tapestry of Tales


Launch of Brunt Boggart: a tapestry of folklore, myth and fairytale.  Book by David Greygoose with artwork by Cate Simmons. A film of images by First Take accompanies the performance, including music by Hannah James, Giles Lewin and Emily Portman, who will also be playing live.

7:00pm, the Bluecoat, School Lane, L1 3BX

Free. Booking required. the Bluecoat, 0151 702 5324,


Wednesday 13th May: Jewish Threads

Liverpool-based author Anita Canter Threads of My Life, Tailors on Both Sides and Mancunian Charlotte Gringras The Purple Rose, Not in Our Hands read from their books and discuss with their publisher, Helen Sandler from Tollington Press, how their Jewish identity underpins both memoir and fiction in their work.

6 – 8pm, Siren Cafe, 54 Saint James Street, L1 0AB. Free


Thursday 14th May: An Evening with Tracey Thorn

Everything But The Girl former lead singer Tracey Thorn comes to Liverpool to read from and discuss her latest book, Naked at the Albert Hall. After her bestselling memoir, Tracy takes us on a new journey exploring the art and power of singing as well as some of her extraordinary stories on the way. 8pm till late. Leaf,  65-67 Bold Street, L1 4EZ. £8/£5 Tickets: Philharmonic Hall. 0151 709 3789


Thursday 14th May: Talking Poetry: The Beats

The Bluecoat’s monthly series exploring spoken poetry through recordings on vinyl, audiotape and CD, focuses this month on the Beat writers. You are invited to listen to and discuss performances from Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Burroughs and other US Beats, as well as some of their British followers. Plus the usual eclectic mix of other great poetic voices.

6pm. the Bluecoat. School Lane, Liverpool, L1 3BX

Tickets Free. Booking Essential. Tel 0151 702 5324,


Friday 15th May: Word Up! on Light Night

WoW’s Young Writers return to Central Library’s roof terrace to perform under the stars during Liverpool’s Light Night Celebrations. Enjoy these talented young writers perform original spoken word with a New York style edge. Hosted by Daniel Blue Saint and featuring performances from NYC based spoken word artist and hip-jop violinist, Shayshahn MacPhearon and Manchester-based Young Identity.

8pm till late. Liverpool Central Library, William Brown Street, L3 8EW. Free


Saturday 16th May: Marvel Mayhem – Unmasking the Real Superheroes. 1pm – 4.30pm

Leading comic book writers from Marvel and DC Comics come to Liverpool to explore the links between UK and American graphic novels. Tim Quinn (Spider-Man, The Beano), Charlie Adlard (Walking Dead) and Emma Vieceli (Girl Comics) take the stage to tell you their stories, give tips and answer your questions.

3-4pm Liverpool Central Library, William Brown Street, L38EW

£6/£3 Advance ticket purchase essential Philharmonic Hall. Tel: 0151 709 3789

Workshop: Join the notorious Tim Quinn for an exclusive, hands-on workshop to make your own comic book creation! Tim Quinn: scriptwriter, illustrator and editor for The Beano, The Dandy & Dr Who Magazine, before heading Stateside to work for Marvel Comics on the world famous Spider-Man, X-Men and The Incredible Hulk. Free

0151 709 3789


Sunday 17th May: From Great War to Race Riots

Levi Tafari launches WoW’s new Heritage Lottery Funded project, an incredible archive featuring original letters from black soldiers and seamen who served in the Great War and then found themselves the target of racial abuse while stranded in Liverpool. Exhibition, Poetry, music, food hot off the BBQ and a licenced bar. Places are available for the course. Email for details. 3pm till late. The Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre. 4 Princes Road. Liverpool, L8 1TH. Free Entry. Food & drink to purchase


Monday, 18th May: The Ethics of Portrait Photography – A Transatlantic View…

From Harlem slums to ‘all American high-school’ stereotypes, New York photographer and writer, Camilo José Vergara, and Californian photographer, Jona Frank, take us on a visual journey to explore the subverted American Dream. Louis Quail and Bryn Davies talk about the influence of UK ethics on their international work. Panel discussions/Q&A.

6.30pm – 8pm. The Victoria Gallery and Museum at The University of Liverpool. Brownlow Hill/Ashton Street, L69 3DR. Free


Tuesday 19th May: All Involved – Riots, Redemption & Revenge in L.A: In Conversation with Ryan Gattis

Los Angeles Riots 1992: America’s second largest city burns after six days of looting, arson, assault and murder. All Involved, Ryan Gattis’s stunning debut novel, weaves a heart-stopping narrative as day-by-riotous-day we follow the intersecting lives of seventeen people, whose stories of the riots were never told.

6.30pm. Waterstones Liverpool One, 12 College Lane, L1 3DL

£3/£2 loyalty card holders. Tickets: Waterstones (In Store)


Tuesday 19th May: Estuary – Poetry, Music and Song

Estuary: Poetry, Music & Song – Seán Street, Neil Campbell & Perri Alleyne-Hughes

Words and music celebrating the life of rivers, harbours and estuaries, based on poems in Seán Street’s collection, Cello. This collaboration between three world class talents is the perfect curtain-raiser to the historic visit of Cunard’s three Queens to the Mersey.

8 PM. Studio 2. 33-45 Parr Street, L1 4JN

£4/£2. Pay on Door


Thursday 21st May: Visions, Dreams and Rumours: Zoe Howe on Stevie Nicks

Music Writer Zoë Howe joins WoW on the release of her latest book Visions, Dreams and Rumours, documenting the life of Fleetwood Mac singer and solo artist, Stevie Nicks. Accompanied by music video and film footage.

6pm. The Box. Fact. 88 Wood Street, L1 4DQ

£6/£4. Tickets: 0151 707 4444

Thursday 21st May: The Book of Gaza – Tales from the Strip: Mona Abu Sharekh, Nayrouz Qarmout

What do really we know of life in Gaza beyond the headlines? Two citizens of Gaza and contributors to Comma Press’s The Book of Gaza offer insights into the struggles of everyday life in a city under siege. Join us for readings and discussion about life and literature on the Strip.

7.30pm. The Bluecoat, School Lane, L1 3BX £4/£2. Tickets: The Bluecoat – Tel 0151 702 5324


Sunday 24th May: Feel Ashamed with Jon Ronson

New York Times journalist, best-selling author and documentary maker Jon Ronson The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Psychopath Test, discusses his latest book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – a humorous exploration of trolling, high dramas and public shamings that have manifested through the world of social media.

1.30 – 3.30pm. Central Library. William Brown Street,  L3 8EW

£8/£4. Advanced booking essential:


Tuesday 26th May: Feminomics – What if Women Ruled the World?

Selma James, Co-Founder of the International Wages for Housework Campaign, Maggie O’Carroll, CEO of The Women’s Organisation, Katrine Marcel Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner and Caroline Criado-Perez Do it like a Woman, campaigner to Keep Women on British Bank Notes, discuss how the economy would be shaped if women ruled the world.

7PM. The Women’s Organisation. 54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB

£6/£3. Pay On Door


Wednesday 27th May: Hurricane Ports

Writer and Professor of Neurology Andrew Lees and writer and historian Tony Wailey discuss Lee’s book ‘Hurricane Port’, exploring what makes Liverpool different, and the relationship of seaman and writer George Garrett with New York and the United states. Also writer David Chadwick on his debut novel ‘Liberty Bazaar’.

7.30pm. The Casa. 29 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BQ.

£4/£2. Pay On Door


Thursday 28th May: Definitions, Clare Coombes. Book Launch

When someone is missing and all you have are their words…

2014 Pulp Idol finalist Clare Coombes launches her debut novel Definitions during WoW’s 2015 Pulp Idol final. Definitions is a tense thriller set in Liverpool about a family divided by secrets and a sister who won’t give up.

7 PM. LEAF. 65-67 Bold Street. Liverpool, L1 4EZ. Free Entry


Pulp Idol Final

Come along to the Pulp Idol final to cheer on our budding novelists hoping to win and follow the success of previous winners and finalists such as James Rice Alice and the Fly, Hodder & Stoughton, and Clare Coombes, whose  debut novel Definitions will be launched during the final.

7pm. LEAF. 65-67 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4EZ

Free Entry


In Partnership with Culture Liverpool’s ‘One Magnificent city Celebrations’

Tuesday 2nd – Saturday 13th June: Subterranean Theatre: The Maurie

The Subterranean Theatre: The Maurie. The Maurie, written by Writing on the Wall’s Mike Morris, directed by Carl Cockram, and brought to you by the team that produced ‘Waiting for Brando’ (The Liverpool Echo’s pick of the year for 2013, awarded 10/10), is based on a 1920’s short story by rediscovered Liverpool seaman and writer George Garrett. It celebrates the mighty ‘scouse boat’ The Mauretania, and the lives and conflicts of those who worked below decks in the ‘Subterranean Theatre’ of the ships’ stokehold.

Tickets available from Liverpool Philharmonic Hall Box Office 36 Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BP Tel: 0151 709 3789 Online bookings: Ticket Price: £15, £10 concessions


In Partnership with Culture Liverpool’s ‘One Magnificent city Celebrations’

Saturday 2nd July: An Evening With Walter Mosely

Walter Mosley, one of the most versatile and admired writers in America today, is the author of more than 43 critically acclaimed books and includes literary fiction, science fiction, political monographs, and a young adult novel. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and The Nation. He is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York City. Walter’s most recognised and popular work is his series of best-selling historical mysteries featuring detective Easy Rawlins, a black private investigator and World War II veteran living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

7.30pm. Liverpool Town Hall, Water St. Liverpool. L2 3SW

Tickets available from Liverpool Philharmonic Hall Box Office, 36 Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BP

Tel: 0151 709 3789. Online bookings:

Ticket Price: £15, £10 concessions


Flash Fiction Competition: Killing Pool. Deadline 28th May.

WoW’s Flash Fiction competition this year is a killer!

Crime writer, Kevin Sampson The Killing Pool, Jonathon Capewill be judging your ‘Killing Pool’ flash fiction entries and to top it off, world famous writer Walter Mosley will announce the winner at his appearance in Liverpool on July 2nd. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity!

For more information go to


For further details, images and requests for interviews please contact Tel 0151 703 0020





Liverpool Waterfront