WoWfest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS responds to recent national and international political, social and cultural developments around issues of Brexit/The EU, migration, race, inclusion/exclusion, diversity and nationalism.

While Trump talks of building walls and borders are back on the international agenda, WoWFEST 2018 – Crossing Borders will explore messages of togetherness, hope and inclusivity by building stories and experiences around the thoughts, ideas and hopes of our communities for the society and identity they wish to build for themselves and each other in the wake of Brexit.

With the impact of Brexit hotly contested and unbridled Trumpery across the Atlantic, WoWFest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS will explore literature, art, ideas and practice that has transgressed and challenged accepted ways of thinking. From migrant literature to refugee stories, prisoner stories and translated works, they’ll be discussing race, gender, sexuality, Europe, politics, activism, satire, collaboration, grime music and technology.

In venues across the city, WoWfest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS will break down barriers – technological, geographic and those that frame our identity and ways of living. Local national and international writers, artists and commentators will debate and discuss ideas of nationalism and identity and their impact on society, culture and artistic creation. They’ll consider whether the gates protecting the most elite communities need to be torn down in the name of Social Justice and the Grenfell survivors.

Subverting the theme, we’ll be exploring borders that need to be fortified #metoo. With guests and events including Lily Allen, Robert Webb and Jordan Stephens, and Benjamin Zephaniah, and an exclusive exhibition in Liverpool’s Central Library about the persecution of the Roma community by the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s (and many more to be announced), WoWfest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS will defy expectations, entertain and challenge, and invite you to get involved.

Writing on the Wall Co-Director Madeline Heneghan says:

‘Writing on the Wall’s WoWFEST 2018 – Crossing Borders follows in the tradition of previous festivals by engaging our diverse communities in arts, culture, debates and discussions on current events, while bringing the best writers, artists and commentators to audiences across the region. Borders and walls are on the rise across the world. Literature, art and culture can provide a platform for artists and audiences to come together to discuss and present work on difficult and often divisive issues, including Brexit, immigration, and issues of social justice like Grenfell, and come together to explore perspectives that can throw a new light on these issues, and inspire unity and cohesion, rather than hate and division.’ 

#Justice4Grenfell, £12/£6, 3rd May, 19:30, Black-E, 1 Great George Street, L1 5EW. Tickets: www.ticketquarter.co.uk/Online/justice-4-grenfell

Prison Writes, £10/£5, 23rd May, 18:30, Bluecoat, School Lane, L1 3BX. Tickets: http://www.thebluecoat.org.uk/events/view/events/3840

Shy Radicals & Shrinking Violets, £10/£5, 24th May, 18:30, Bluecoat, School Lane, L1 3BX. Tickets: http://www.thebluecoat.org.uk/events/view/events/3841

The Life & Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah, £22.50/£28.50, 20th May, 19:30, Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street, L1 9BP. Tickets: http://www.liverpoolphil.com/whats-on/the-life-and-rhymes-of-benjamin-zephaniah

Festival website: www.wowfest.uk

Writing on the Wall website: www.writingonthewall.org.uk