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WOW – Women of the World announces headliners for 2022 London Festival

WOW – Women of the World has announced headliners for its 2022 London Festival, which returns to the Southbank Centre from 11-13 March, supported by Bloomberg, to mark International Women’s Day. Led by Founder Jude Kelly, the London edition of the world’s biggest, most comprehensive festival celebrating women, girls and non-binary people is back in person after some of the toughest years in recent history for gender equality.

Bernardine Evaristo - credit Suki Dhana.
Bernardine Evaristo – credit Suki Dhana.

On 13 March world-renowned scholar Professor Angela Y. Davis joins the Festival live from San Francisco in a one-off, special event to celebrate the much-anticipated re-publication of her blazing autobiography – An Autobiography – nearly 50 years since it was first published. In an evening with black feminist writer and researcher, Lola Olufemi featuring music, poetry, and a live audience Q&A, Angela will reflect on the power of sisterhood and political self-organising, and what a lifetime of resistance has taught her about the struggles we face today. Performers for Angela Davis – A Lifetime of Resistance are to be announced.

Booker Prize-Winning author Bernardine Evaristo and special guests – including Hannah Azieb Pool, Barbara Blake, Judith Bryan, Jacqueline Roy and Nicola Williams – journey through time rediscovering lost and hard-to-find works about Black Britain and the diaspora, by Black women writers on 13 March. Through conversation and readings from Evaristo and guests – including some of the authors themselves – the event explores the stories these extraordinary books tell. Since 2019, Evaristo has been curating the Black Britain: Writing Back series for Penguin, adding new titles every year.

Edinburgh Comedy Award, Rose D’or and South Bank Sky Arts Award winner Bridget Christie brings her brand new show Who Am I? to WOW. Her laugh a minute show about the menopause will run on Saturday 12 March.

Comedian and author Natalie Haynes will celebrate the remarkable women at the centre of ancient Greek myth on 13 March. Among the world’s most important historical building blocks, deeply embedded into our culture and stories, these are the myths that permeate much of modern life. Historically in our retellings, women have been painted as sex objects, vengeful, or just evil. Haynes’ revisionist exploration reclaims many of these stories – from the chaos unleashing Pandora who was not a villain to the Greeks, supposedly warmongering Helen, through to the nuanced stories of Medea and Phaedra. Natalie Haynes is the author of six books. Most recently Pandora’s Jar: Women and the Greek Myths (2020) and A Thousand Ships, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020. She has written and recorded six series of Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics for BBC Radio 4.

On 11 March award-winning digital-first creator Grace Victory (How to Calm It) and Sunday Times Bestselling Author and founder of Make Motherhood Diverse Candice Brathwaite (I Am Not Your Baby Mother and Sista Sister) share how they grew their careers to encompass writing, fashion, presenting, and inspiring others in their journeys to motherhood. They talk to Founder of Black Ballad Tobi Oredein and will also touch on causes close to their hearts such as mental health and maternal mortality rates for Black women in Britain, and Grace’s own experiences of building a relationship with her baby son as she recovered from life-threatening Covid complications.

Tickets to the newly announced events will go on sale on 10 and 11 February.

The 2022 London Festival also sees the return of WOW Sounds. WOW’s first ever dedicated music programme platforming revolutionary women and non-binary musicians and spoken word artists who are using music as a form of activism – from violence against women to climate justice to body positivity to the refugee crisis.

WOW welcomes UK-based artist Miss Baby Sol WOW’s first-ever WOW Sounds Artist in Residence) to perform an exclusive gig with her full live band in the Clore Ballroom on 11 March. Bringing positive energy, empowering messages and an eclectic music style, Baby will be appearing throughout the WOW Festival weekend. This free Friday night gig is a chance to hear her perform critically acclaimed tracks alongside new songs written specially for WOW, inspired by the themes of the festival. Her WOW Sounds residency is supported by PRS For Music Foundation.

On 13 March there will be a special free gig featuring an exclusive line up of WOW Sounds acts including Nadia Javed and Breakup Haircut, hosted by Miss Baby Sol.

Indonesian Muslim all-girl rock band Voice of Baceprot (VOB) will be WOW’s first-ever digital artist in residence. The band formed in 2014 when they started using music to raise awareness of the lack of education for girls in their communities. As part of their digital residency, supported by the British Council, the acclaimed band will create new work and music videos about gender equality to perform at the festival online.

The guests announced today join previously announced unmissable events with Black Lives Matter co-founder and former Executive Director, and TIME 100 most influential person Patrisse Cullors; an afternoon with author and broadcaster Elizabeth Day of the podcast phenomenon How to Fail; bestselling writers Lisa Taddeo and Pandora Sykes in conversation about what happens when we are pushed to the brink; the internationally bestselling author Marian Keyes in discussion about Again, Rachel, her eagerly awaited sequal to Rachel’s Holiday; award-winning Somali British poet and activist and celebrated collaborator on Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Black Is King Warsan Shire, who will launch her long-awaited first full-length poetry collection Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head; The Guilty Feminist host Deborah Frances-White with some of her most personal ever “I’m a feminist but…” confessions; writer, poet and activist, Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan launching her new book, Tangled in Terror: Uprooting Islamophobia; The Urgent Conversation, a panel on the most pressing gender equality issues – with the timely programme and panel to be confirmed just ahead of the weekend; Lucy Kirkwood’s searing, timely play Maryland, and a riotous festival finisher from Figs in Wigs – Little Wimmin – a brilliantly satirical adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic.

WOW London 2022 will see the return of many other WOW favourites including the free-to-explore WOW Marketplace and the sold-out Under 10’s Feminist Corners, which invite children to explore equality and discover what life is like for their peers across the world.

The festival’s day programme, final events and a digital programme accessible worldwide will be announced in the coming weeks.

Run by UK charity The WOW Foundation, 2022 is the 12th WOW London Festival. In 2018, WOW Founder Jude Kelly built on the success of the festival to create UK-based charity The WOW Foundation to run the global WOW movement that believes a gender equal world is urgently needed, possible and desirable. Since the inaugural London Festival in 2011, WOW and its partners across the world have reached more than three million people in more than 100 festivals and events across six continents. You can get inspired by listening here to the second series of the WOW Podcast, which celebrates the achievements of women and girls and takes a frank look at the obstacles in their way. Other recent events include November’s first-ever WOW Festival in Taiwan, WOW Kaohsiung, and Shameless! Festival of Actvism Against Sexual Violence in London, a co-produced festival by WOW and Birckbeck University of London’s SHaME project to address the global crisis of sexual violence.

Details of more 2022 WOW Festivals across the world, including the return of WOW Virtual Pakistan in March and the first-ever WOW Rotherham, will be announced shortly.

The WOW Foundation is proudly supported by its Global Founding Partner Bloomberg, and Global Partner Mastercard. WOW London 2022 is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/

LISTINGS

WOW London 2022
11 – 13 March, Southbank Centre
Under 10’s Feminist Corners (SOLD OUT)
Sat 10.30am for girls aged 6-7 years old
Sat 1.30pm for girls aged 8-10 years old
Sat 4.30pm for boys aged 8-10 years old

WOW Speed Mentoring
Friday 11 March
12.30pm-1.30pm, free but ticketed
Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall (BSL)
Friday at WOW
Friday 12 March
2pm-5pm, £18 / £25
Royal Festival Hall (BSL & Captions)

Lisa Taddeo & Pandora Sykes in Conversation
Friday 11 March
6.30pm, £25
Queen Elizabeth Hall

Patrisse Cullors: An Abolitionist Journey
Friday 11 March
7pm-8pm, £10, £18, £28, £38
Royal Festival Hall (BSL & Captions)

Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan: Tangled In Terror
Friday 11 March
8.30pm-10pm, £10
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (BSL)

WOW Sounds Presents Miss Baby Sol
Friday 11 March
8.30pm-9.30pm, Free
Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall

Grace Victory & Candice Brathwaite at WOW
Friday 11 March
9pm-10.30pm, £10 / £20
Queen Elizabeth Hall (BSL)

Saturday at WOW
Saturday 13 March
2pm-5pm, £18 / £25
Royal Festival Hall (BSL & Captions)

Marian Keyes at WOW: Again, Rachel
Saturday 12 March
6pm-7.30pm, £25
Queen Elizabeth Hall (BSL & Captions)

The Urgent Conversation
Saturday 12 March
6.15pm-7.45pm, £10
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (BSL)

Bridget Christie at WOW: Who Am I?
Saturday 12 March
7.30pm-9.30pm, £10, £18, £28, £38
Royal Festival Hall

Warsan Shire at WOW: Bless the Daughter
Saturday 12 March
8.30pm-10pm, £25
Queen Elizabeth Hall (BSL)

Deborah Frances-White Stands Up at WOW
Saturday 12 March
9pm-10.30pm, £22
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (BSL)

Sunday at WOW – Women & Power
Sunday 13 March
11am-2pm, £12 / £20
Royal Festival Hall

Maryland at WOW
Sunday 13 March
2pm-3.30pm, £15
Queen Elizabeth Hall

WOW Sounds Hour
Sunday 13 March
2pm-3pm, Free
Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall
Sunday Afternoon with Elizabeth Day at WOW
Sunday 13 March
4pm-5.30pm, £18, £28, £38
Royal Festival Hall (BSL & STT)

Bernardine Evaristo – Black Britain: Writing Back
Sunday 13 March
4pm-5.30pm, £15
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (BSL)

Angela Davis: A Lifetime of Resistance
Sunday 13 March
7pm-8.30pm, £10, £20, £30
Queen Elizabeth Hall (BSL & Captions)

Little Wimmin
Sunday 13 March
7pm-9pm, £25
Queen Elizabeth Hall

Natalie Haynes in conversation: Women in Greek Myth
Sunday 13 March
7pm-8.30pm, £22
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (BSL)

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