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International Women’s Day (March 8) and our month of women artists at the forefront and Women of the World Festival (WoW)

International Women’s Day (March 8) and our month of women artists at the forefront and Women of the World Festival (WoW)

ALL THIS MONTH, is drawing a more focused spotlight on the work of primarily South Asian women artists and creatives.
We started our informal series on Tuesday (March 1), precisely one week ahead of the United Nation’s (UN) International Women’s Day this coming Tuesday (March 8) – by dropping a video interview of Jaspreet Kaur, a poet and spoken word artist. Kaur, known for her poetry as Behind the Netra, has just released her debut book, ‘Brown Girl Like Me’. You can see this interview here
In the article below, we provide a short overview of the Women of the World Festival (March 11-13) which looks to mark the contribution of all women and has many leading and brilliant women of colour talk about issues and concerns relevant to all of us…

By Mamie Colfox

DESCRIBED as the world’s biggest festival celebrating girls and women the Women of the World (WoW) Festival returns to being an in person event at the Southbank Centre.

This London edition will run from Friday (March 11) to Sunday (March 13) and bring together some of the most exciting women working in the arts today – among them Booker Prize winning author Bernardine Evaristo, writer-poet Suhaiyamah Manzoor Khan, London-based spoken artist Rakaya Fetuga, as well as Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who will be talking to British journalist and author Afua Hirsch. Afghan icons Fawzia Koofi and Fawzia Amini also join WoW this year, while poetry sensation Warsan Shire is also appearing.

Among the closing events will be a live link-up and discussion with the great scholar and activist Professor Angela Davis in ‘Angela Davis: A Lifetime of Resistance’ talking about her long career and her seminal autobiography which contines to be relevant 50 years after its first publication.

On Friday (March11), Maslaha and British Fencing collaborate to create Maslaha Muslim Girls Fence, with a performance from spoken word poet Rakaya Fetuga. Maslaha is an activist keen to break down barriers and challenge stereotypes and provide a safe space for all women to talk about issues and concerns and her work with British Fencing illustrates this. Later, Manzoor-Khan’s launches her new book, ‘Tangled in Terror: Uprooting Islamophobia’, and Cullors talks to Hirsch about BLM.

Suhaiyamah Manzoor Khan launches her book, ‘Tangled in Terror: Uprooting Islamophobia

On Saturday (March 12), Koofi and Amini will discuss the current situation for women’s rights in Afghanistan and the work going on to help restore human rights there. Koofi has helped over 100 Afghan judges escape to safety from Afghanistan, and had a lucky escape herself, whilst Amini is another judge who managed to get out. On the same day Evaristo talks to Warsan Shire about her new poetry collection, ‘Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head’.

On Sunday (March 13), which is more about talks and workshops sees musician Nadia Javed talk about her all-girl Indonesian Muslim rock band Voice of Baceprot and the idea of music as a form of activism. Evaristo will also talk about her writing and the culture from which it springs.

Among the others speaking at WOW are authors Elizabeth Day, Natalie Haynes and Marian Keys. WoW will consist of panel discussions, music, and performances, with three-hour line ups each day and headline events in the evenings.

First created by Jude Kelly in 2010, when she was director of the Southbank Centre, WoW has grown to become an entity in its own right and this year’s festival is sponored by Bloomberg.

Women of the World Festival (WoW) – Friday, March 11-March 13, from 11am, Southbank Centre Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

More info/tickets/individual listings:

Picture collage (from top left up & down, middle and top right & down): Warsan Shire (Leyla Jeyte); Angela Davis; Bernardine Evaristo (Suki Dhanda); Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan; Patrisse Cullors (Photographer’s names where indicated)

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture