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Sanam Sheriff in Writing Climate (In)Justice - #StillWeRise:

'What we now call the trees were once called the gods' - video reading (English spoken)


What we now call the trees were once called the gods. Their kingdom a green and honest song.

While we look at trees, plants and flowers, at a blue sky and finally at an impressive mountain landscape, we hear Sanam Sheriff read her short story: about how the oldest foremothers understood the language of nature; and about how that language has now been forgotten, while rivers spill waste and forests burn.

Poet and word artist Sanam Sheriff made a video contribution about climate (in)justice at the request of Winternachten international literature festival The Hague. The video images accompanying her story were made and edited by Melissa Bolton. The video was first shown in the programme #StillWeRise: Writing Climate (In)justice, streamed live on Thursday 14 January 2021.

More and more authors give the climate and the climate crisis a prominent place in their work; few still venture into the subject of climate injustice or climate racism. Too often you hear the statement "we are all in the same boat". Yes, we are all in the same raging sea of climate crisis. But socio-economic status, skin colour and geographical location determine whether you cross that storm on a luxury cruise ship or a shaky raft. That's why programme maker Joëlle Koorneef in the Winternachten festival 2021 programme #StillWeRise: Writing Climate (In)justice let writers, poets and spoken word performers speak out about how they give shape to the desire for a more just world and to their artistry.

Sanam Sheriff (India, 1995) is a queer poet and artist from Bangalore, India. In 2018 she graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a BA in Creative Writing. She was a 2018-2019 Thomas J. Watson Fellow, a 2018 Pushcart Prize Nominee, and the winner of the 2018 Button Poetry Video Contest. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Virginia Quarterly Review, The Offing, Vinyl Poetry & Prose, The Academy of American Poets, The Shade Journal, DW B, and elsewhere. She is currently an MFA candidate in Poetry at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is poetry editor for The Spectacle Magazine. Sheriff was a guest of the 2018 Winternachten International Literature Festival The Hague.