World of Words: WOMAD celebrates the written and spoken word

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World of Words: WOMAD celebrates the written and spoken word

World of Words, WOMAD’s beating heart of creativity celebrating the spoken word, is back and better than ever for 2017, with an extensively vibrant and diverse programme jam-packed full of poetry slams, author chats, lively discussions, fascinating talks and insightful interviews.

Whether it’s taking part in WOMAD’s Book Club, discussing the latest news over coffee with the Sunday Papers panelists, or completing a giant crossword, WOMAD-ers are positively spoilt for choice.

Hosted by the hilarious Harriet Beveridge and top book designer and illustrator James Nunn, the World of Words tent is a buzzing hub of creativity boasting some of the literary world’s top rising stars.  There’s an interview with emerging voice Robyn Travis whose debut novel ‘Mama Can’t Raise No Man’ explores the many faces of masculinity told from a black male perspective, as well as a discussion with JS Monroe (pen name of acclaimed spy novel writer Jon Stock) about his new psychological thriller ‘Find Me’.  There’s also a talk with JJ Bola, the Congolese writer and poet exploring his debut novel ‘No Place To Call Home’, which looks into the themes of belonging, identity and immigration and hope and hopelessness. Later on, it’s all about the arboreal fun as Julian Hight, author of ‘World Tree Story’ will tell his incredible tale of his 5-year photographic odyssey to capture 100 ancient and historic trees across 39 countries and tell their individual stories through history, legend and literature.

In these highly charged and ever changing times the voice of the poet is not only a nice distraction, it’s a call to arms, and the Hip Yak Poetry Shack provides a creative, powerful platform for forward-thinking voices. It is positively brimming with comedy, stories and poetry provided by some of the country’s top spoken word artists. Hosted by Liv Torc, Jonny Fluffypunk and Chris Remond, the weekend will see performances from poet and comedian John Hegley, award-winning playwright and performer Inua Ellams and spoken wordsmith Zia Ahmed to name a few.

There are plenty of discussions for festival-goers to get their teeth into, including a talk from Clive Stafford-Smith OBE, founder and Director of Reprieve, a human rights organisation which provides free legal and investigative support to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Clive talks torture, detention without trial and Donald Trump in a fascinating hour of conversation.

There will also be a panel discussion ‘How To Get Published’ with top children’s author Wendy Meddour, self-published author Louise Ross and a selection of publishers for all those who have a book inside them and are just waiting to share it with the world. Jenny Sealey MBE, Artistic Director of the Graeae Theatre Company and co-director of the 2012 Paralympic ceremony will also take to the stage talking diversity and creativity.

Radio 4’s Four Thought will also be taking up a residency at WOMAD this year, recording their classic show live from Charlton Park as presenter Helen Zaltzman introduces four exciting and provocative speakers mixing new thinking and original ideas with personal stories. Airing their thoughts will be comedian Nick Revell and Natalie Maddix, founder and creative director at House Gospel Choir.

The ever-popular music storytelling event OneTrackMinds will also be setting up camp at WOMAD this year, as host Kristrian Brodie invites Squeeze’s Chris Difford, thereminist Dorit Chrysler and guitar physicist Mark Lewney to talk about one song that changed their lives.

Take a unique trip down memory lane with John Osborne: John Peel’s Shed, the five star show that has been a sell out at Edinburgh Fringe in the past.

We also welcome Dr Oscar Duke from Channel 4’s ‘24 Hours in A&E’. He talks to music producer Ian Brennan and members of the Tanzania Albinism Collective about their album ‘White African Power’.

World of Words is where WOMAD-ers have the chance to get to know even more artists, as other sessions throughout the weekend include an interview with multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-generational ensemble Bokante and Squeeze frontman Chris Difford in conversation with Eliza Carthy, who will get together with guitar and fiddle in hand to talk writing, performing and collaborations.

New for 2017, festival-goers are encouraged to get creative with Post A Poem; various post-boxes will be dotted around the site where anyone and everyone can put pen to paper and create their own poem and ‘post’ it, with the best being selected to be made into short films. Finally, the hugely popular Human Books returns for 2017, with over 45 interesting and extraordinary people ready to chat, intrigue and inspire!

On top of all that, WOMAD 2017 to have a stellar line up boasting some of the top names from across the world, including Goat, Benjamin Zephaniah and The Revolutionary Minds, Oumou Sangaré, !!! (Chk Chk Chk) and many more.