by Robin Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
A revolutionary collaboration about the world we're living in now, between two of our most important contemporary thinkers, writers and activists.
When much of the world entered pandemic lockdown in spring 2020, Robyn Maynard, influential author of Policing Black Lives, and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, award-winning author of several books, including the recent novel Noopiming, began writing each other letters--a gesture sparked by friendship and solidarity, and by a desire for kinship and connection in a world shattering under the intersecting crises of pandemic, police killings, and climate catastrophe. Their letters soon grew into a powerful exchange on the subject of where we go from here.
Rehearsals is a captivating book, part debate, part dialogue, part lively and detailed familial correspondence between two razor-sharp writers convening on what it means to get free as the world spins into some new orbit. In a genre-defying exchange, the authors collectively envision the possibilities for more liberatory futures during a historic year of Indigenous land defense, prison strikes, and global-Black-led rebellions against policing. By articulating to each other Black and Indigenous perspectives on our unprecedented here and now, and the long-disavowed histories of slavery and colonization that have brought us to this moment in the first place, Maynard and Simpson create something new: a vital demand for a different way forward, and a poetic call to dream up new ways of ordering earthly life.
With a foreword by Ruth Wilson Gilmore.
"Rehearsals for Living is a profound and sublime work of memory, witnessing, refusal, dreaming. In the trenchant tradition of Black and Indigenous feminisms, this brilliant book moves us away from the language of crisis or victimhood to the precise and intimate encounters of kinship and liberation. The letters between Maynard and Simpson magnificently shapeshift and engage on multiple levels, and in doing so, rigorously demand an accounting for horrific violences while illuminating lives and worlds anew. A masterclass in literary form, ethical orientations, and collective futures." --Harsha Walia, author of Border and Rule, Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism
"Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson embody and express how practice makes different. This necessary book is a model--through the shared process of two brilliant thinkers it gifts us clarity to see rehearsals otherwise and elsewhere." --Ruth Wilson Gilmore, from the foreword
"Not all apocalypses are unwelcome. The profound anticipation for a world otherwise bubbled to the surface the summer of 2020. Collective rage and love shattered the sense of inviolability surrounding white supremacy putting forward an alternative vision, one already existing and always in the making. Rehearsals for Living is an epistolary that captures that urgent project of what it means to be human and imagine freedom in times of terrible danger. Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson tap into Black and Indigenous ways of knowing and world-making that require a fundamental disordering of the forces of destruction and the re-ordering of life and the beautiful struggle to get free." --Nick Estes, author of Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance
About the Contributors:
Robyn Maynard is an award-winning Black feminist scholar-activist based in Toronto, and the author of the national bestseller Policing Black Lives: State violence in Canada from slavery to the present. Her writings on policing, feminism, abolition, and Black liberation are taught widely across North America and Europe.
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist, who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Leanne is the author of seven books, including her 2021 novel Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies, which was named a best book of the year by the Globe and Mail, and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.
Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at CUNY Graduate Center. A co-founder of California Prison Moratorium Project and Critical Resistance, she is author of the prize-winning book Golden Gulag: Prison, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. Gilmore is the recipient of the Cultural Freedom Prize from the Lannan Foundation.
Robin D. G. Kelley, Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA, is author of Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times and Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination.