Winternachten Festival: Writing Climate (In)justice

Our alumna and former student assistant Joëlle Koorneef curated and produced a programme on literature and climate (in)justice for Winternachten Festival. The festival takes place online on the evening of 14 January 2021.

#StillWeRise: Writing Climate (In)justice

A program about the climate, art and activism with authors Alexis Wright (Australia), Leena Norms (UK) and Sanam Sheriff (US) as well as Benjamin Fro, Chihiro Geuzebroek moderated by Fiep van Bodegom.

Thursday 14 January 2021 from 20:30 until 21:45. Registration and more information at Winternachten.

More and more authors are giving the climate and the climate crisis a prominent role in their work. Think of the recent novels of Eva Meijer, Margaret Atwood and Richard Powers, for example. Few, however, dare to address the subject of climate inequality or climate racism.

All too often, you hear the expression, “we’re all in the same boat”. We are indeed all caught up in the same rough seas of the climate crisis. But social-economic status, skin colour and geographic location determine whether one weathers the storm aboard a luxury cruise liner or a leaky raft. It is the opinion of programme maker Joëlle Koorneef that it’s up to us to use all our literary capabilities to put this on the agenda.

The novel The Swan Book (2013) by Aboriginal author Alexis Wright takes place in a future world destroyed by extreme climate change. Due to drought, forest fires and dying coral reefs, Australia is a forerunner in experiencing the effects of the climate crisis. In Wright’s work, the continent is an almost dystopian literary setting in which injustices continue to multiply.

Fiep van Bodegom, a writer, translator and editor with literary magazine De Gids, talks with Wright about the value of literature in the context of the climate crisis and the position of the writer to spur (climate) activism.

We provide fragments of Wright’s work – distinguished by its raw, living language – to spoken-word artists and poets to use the power of their words to make this subject comprehensible in every way. Live from the Theater aan het Spui, these include the rebellious and deeply engaged word, rap and music artist Benjamin Fro and the filmmaker, performer and activist Chihiro Geuzebroek. There are also impressive video contributions by British poet, YouTube star and literary video essayist Leena Norms and the Indian poet and word artist Sanam Sheriff.

With Van Bodegom, they discuss how they shape their artistry as well as a desire for a more just world. Is it a balancing act, or is it the only way they can profess their artistry?

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