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WOMAD goes Literary

Kiwi Author Elizabeth Knox will appear at WOMAD 2017

Usually host to a world of music and dance, this year WOMAD is expanding their horizons to incorporate the ‘world of words’ – a sort of pop-up global literary café. The programme is focused on literature, poetry and stories and thinking from around the world. The format looks really interesting with a mix of readings, interviews, presentations and even an open slam poetry competition spread across the festival.

Notable Kiwi wordsmiths such as Elizabeth Knox, Sam Hunt and Charlotte Grimshaw will be joined by a collection of international and local talent.
The diverse range of topics stretches from interviews with and readings by interesting musicians and writers to presentations on the future of global economy, technology and environment.

I’m pretty interested to hear more about Future Crunch. This Australian based project is described as ‘a global movement of scientists, technologists, hackers and creatives that think there are new and better ways of doing things in the 21st century.’ I think we can all agree on that and it sounds like an inspiring presentation.

I’m also looking forward to the interview of WOMAD musician Archie Roach by TV one’s Miriama Kamo. Roach was a member of the ‘lost generation’ and has been at the forefront of the Australian Indigenous rights movement and traditional music and culture revival.
In his words:

"Like the promises they did not keep
And how they fenced us in like sheep.
Said to us come take our hand
Sent us off to mission land.
Taught us to read, to write and pray
Then they took the children away"

Another WOMAD artist featured is musician, songwriter, visual artist Inna Modja from Mali. Modja brings this important message spotlighting abuse against women through practices such as female genital mutilation:

"During times of war, women and girls are very vulnerable. They are easy targets in the North of Mali. We want to be free. We want to be alive. We want to be strong. We want to dream. We want more. Music gave me a voice. And I'm going to use it for My People."

Sounds like this popup lit-fest within a fest will a pretty nice place to escape the late summer heat and crowds at WOMAD and find some sanctuary amongst inspirational words from around the world.

And if you fancy yourself as a poet – you can dust off your literary skills you can always join the slam poetry competition hosted by local comedian and artist Penny Ashton – you could even win yourself a ticket for WOMAD 2018. If you need some inspiration, check out this video of top UK Slam-Poet Kate Tempest.

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