Mike Leigh, Jo Brand and Will Self are among the line-up for this year’s WoWFest.
The annual festival, organised by Writing on the Wall, is celebrating its 20th anniversary and runs from May 1-31 at venues throughout Liverpool and beyond.
This year’s event has the theme Where Are We Now? which considers the current state of the world where uncertainty seems to rule.
It is also marking Liverpool’s wider RISE cultural programme which celebrates the achievements of amazing women.
WoWFest19 opens on Wednesday, May 1 when writer and political commentator Will Self will give a festival keynote speech at the Bluecoat.
The next day will see the official opening of a new exhibition at Liverpool Central Library which commemorates the centenary of the city’s 1919 Race Riots.
The exhibition is a collaboration between Writing on the Wall, Liverpool Record Office and the National Archives and brings together letters from black workers, the Lord Mayor and central government which reveal attitudes to those who came to the aid of the ‘motherland’ in the wake of the First World War.
Among other highlights of the month-long festival are Junk Mail: The Power of Fake News at the Bluecoat on May 9 which brings together Brian Reade, Dawn Foster, Des Freedman and Brian Foster to discuss the influence and impact of fake news; I, Maybot: The Rise and Fall at Waterstones on May 10; Jo Brand in conversation with Eithne Browne at the Philharmonic Hall on May 14; Queer Are we Now? with Peter Tatchell and Cheryl Martin at LEAF on May 15, and Stuart Maconie talking about Jarrow: Road to the Deep South at the Epstein Theatre on May 18.
Ben Okri and Helen Pankhurst are among other high-profile names appearing at the festival.
Outside the city, Rita Tushingham will discuss her films at an afternoon at the Arts Centre at Edge Hill University on May 10, while a screening of Peterloo at the Plaza in Crosby on May 13 will be followed by a Q&A with Mike Leigh.
Meanwhile the annual Pulp Idol competition grand final will be held at Toxteth Library on May 11.
Writing on the Wall co-director Madeline Heneghan said: "Our programme is designed to give audiences a space for discussion, debate, new ideas, and answers to the questions that people across the nation are asking.
"We have a fabulous line-up of writers and artists, and we're proud to deliver such a high-quality line up for Liverpool during our 20th annual festival."
For more details on the full programme of tours, talks, discussions and performances, visit the WoWFest website HERE