Just when you thought your WOMAD weekend couldn’t get any better, the festival goes ahead and programmes a cracking line up at the esteemed World of Words, the hub of creativity at the heart of the festival celebrating all things spoken. The literary bazaar boasts everything from Q&A’s with top artists from the line-up, poetry slams, panel discussions covering hot topics to talks with inspiring and creative people from all walks of life.

Seeing artists in the intimate setting of the World of Words is always a highlight, and an In Conversation WithTobagan powerhouse Calypso Rose is no exception as audiences get an amazing opportunity to hear the legend talk about her colourful life and career so far. Other In Conversations Withinclude the heart wrenching yet incredible story of Emmanuel Jal & Nyaruach, the South Sudanese siblings who have fought adversity their whole lives and now collaborate musically. There’s alsoa chat with Carleen Anderson and the rest of the female supergoup A Change is Gonna Come about the history of protest songs and how they use them to highlight issues of inequality.

Sustainability is the subject of the moment, and this year’s panel discussions at the World of Words focuses on this, raising interesting questions to debate and discuss, with everything from ‘Fast Fashion – Are Your Clothes Wrecking The Planet’, to looking at climate change with‘11 Years to Change the World: Climate’s Ticking Timebomb’and a fascinating talk on shared space with ‘Co-Housing – the rise of intentional communities’ and not forgetting the return of the ever-popular Sunday Papers Panel, where festival-goers can grab a coffee and croissant and catch up on the day’s news.

No doubt a fascinating discussion will be with humanitarian and author Terry Waite, talking about his book ‘Travels with a Primate’, his travels with the Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie in the 1980s and how the world has changed since then. Also part of the WOMAD book club this year isChocolatauthor Joanne Harris, talking about her new book ‘The Strawberry Thief’ and Kit de Waal discussing her second novel ‘The Trick to Time’, following on from international bestseller ‘My Name is Leon’.

Only at WOMAD would you find the incredible mix of Insights from an Amazonian Shaman, with Kurikindi talking about the practice of healing alongside a chocolate mindfulness story with James Wheale and Annie Zimmerman, a talk from Sunday Times bestseller Roger Eatwell on the growth of national populism and the return of the very popular Buddhist monk Gelong Thubtenwho talks about his new book ‘A Monk’s Guide to Happiness: Meditation in the 21stCentury’.

The ramshackle, interactive, comedy-poetry cabaret The Hip Yak Poetry Shack is back and better than ever before, welcoming an astonishingly good line-up with headliners comedy-rap-jazz duo Harry and Chris, spoken word superstar Hollie McNish and Zena Edwards leading the way. Across the weekend there’ll be interactive poetry shows, The Dead Poets Slam and performances from incredible artists such as Cat Lyons, Elvis McGonagall, Francesca Beard and more.

The World of Words is crammed with literary delights throughout the weekend, with the wonderful OneTrackMinds returning;a Desert Island Discs meets TED Talk meets Moth Radio where a panel of special guests talk about that one song that changed their life, whilst in another session author Ashley Hickson-Lovence tells audiences about his incredible journey from Hackney council estate to his debut novel. Firm favourites are also back for 2019, such as Human Books, Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights and Giant Interactive Crosswords, making the World of Words a true celebration of words whether written, spoken, discussed, debated, presented or performed.

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