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WOW Festival London Presents Patrisse Cullors, Elizabeth Day, Pandora Sykes and More in 2022


The festival returns to the Southbank Centre from 11-13 March.

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.

The line-up revealed today includes unmissable events with Black Lives Matter co-founder and former Executive Director, and TIME 100 most influential person Patrisse Cullors; author and broadcaster Elizabeth Day of the podcast phenomenon How to Fail; bestselling writers Lisa Taddeo and Pandora Sykes; 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.

They join previously announced bestselling author Marian Keyes, poet Warsan Shire, comedian Deborah Frances-White, activist Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, as well as 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.

On 11 March WOW will present Patrisse Cullors: An Abolitionist Journey, a very special evening where the New York Times Best-Selling author, Artist, Educator and Abolitionist will launch her groundbreaking second book, An Abolitionist's Handbook: 12 Steps to Changing Yourself and the World.

The co-founder and former Executive Director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has worked extensively supporting Black-led movements in the US, UK and Canada and now at this exclusive WOW event, Patrisse will discuss how everyday activists can get the tools to effectively fight for a world where communities are treated with dignity, care and respect. Leading with love, fierce compassion and precision, she reimagines what reparations look like for Black lives and offers an innovative approach on how to be a modern-day abolitionist. There will be over 100 tickets available at £10 for this special event.

Also on Friday evening, Lisa Taddeo, New York Times bestselling author of Three Women, will be in conversation with Pandora Sykes, podcaster, journalist and author of Sunday Times bestseller How Do We Know We're Doing It Right?. The US and UK literary legends come together to discuss what happens when we are pushed to the brink. Lisa's latest book, Animal explores the impact of a male-dominated society and what the legacy of its impact might be. In this intimate chat in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the writers will explore the animal that dwells within us all, threatening to emerge when pushed to the edges of endurance.

On Sunday afternoon Elizabeth Day, presenter of the chart-topping podcast How to Fail and author of the Sunday Times bestseller How to Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong, will be joined by a line-up of very special guests on the Royal Festival Hall stage for Sunday Afternoon at WOW with Elizabeth Day. They'll share their highs and lows, loves, challenges and failures in this WOW special.

WOW Festival will also present performances as part of the 2022 line-up. On Sunday afternoon WOW will present a script-in-hand performance of Lucy Kirkwood's Maryland, in partnership with The Royal Court Theatre, where it premiered to sold out audiences in autumn 2021.

Kirkwood's play is an urgent, extraordinary, communal rallying cry in response to the normalising of horrific actions being committed against all women and victims of gendered violence. This reprised performance is co-directed by Milli Bhatia, Vicky Featherstone and Lucy Morrison, and will be followed by a panel discussion with members of the creative team.

On Sunday evening the glorious, uproarious Figs in Wigs will reprise their critically acclaimed feminist 'adaptation' of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women - Little Wimmin. Wild, absurdit and satirical, Little Wimmin dismantles the traditional canon, poking fun at the traditions of theatre and 'the classics'. The cast of five women transform the novel into a darkly funny and thought-provoking show with their distinctive punky perspective.

There also be music across the weekend as part of WOW's ongoing WOW Sounds programme showcasing incredible women, girls and non-binary musicians. 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. They join the previously announced WOW London 2022 Artist-in-Residence Miss Baby Sol.

Other speaker highlights that have previously been announced include: the internationally bestselling author of some of the most widely loved, genre-defying novels of the past thirty years Marian Keyes, who will be 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 in a London exclusive; 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; and The Urgent Conversation, WOW's response to the most up to date and recent happenings that affect gender equality in societies around the world. The line-up of speakers and topics of discussion will be decided just before the event to ensure it's absolutely current.

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.

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