(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.(WN 2021)
Archive available for: Sanam Sheriff
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.
The Winternachten International Literature Festival signals that a new generation is now rising up that doesn't view art and activism as opposing poles but operates fluidly between them. What is your experience? Tell us online how we can give this movement a voice and share your sources of inspiration in the dedicated Facebook group we will open on 7 January.
Read here the contributions written for this programme on request of the Winternachten international literature festival The Hague:
- The Farmer's Great-Granddaughter | Leena Norms
- Sanam Sheriff
- Benjamin Fro
- Chihiro Geuzebroek | Dammed People
(Find the Dutch-language versions here/Lees hier de Nederlandstalige versies)
Learn more here:
In collaboration with the Schilderswijk Library, Writers Unlimited presented readings and conversations with Sanam Sheriff, a poetry-slam talent from India, and the young writer-columnist (from Schilderswijk) Hizir Cengiz. Poet and local resident Ibrahim Eroglu recited Turkish poetry together with his daughter, the singer Cansu Eroglu.
The 23rd Winternachten international literature festival-edition took place from Thursday 18 January up till and including Sunday 21 January. Over 80 writers, poets and musicians from The Netherlands and abroad this time not only came to festival locations Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag, but will also visit schools and perform in The Hague neighbourhoods.
The festival, known for its scintillating mix of declamation, readings, conversations about topical subjects, musical performances and film programme, has no less then eight locations this edition. From 18-21 January, central festival locations are Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag.
Additionally, the festival presents free entry writers' performances at the Speakers' Corner of the Haagse Hogeschoo, at the International Institute of Social Studies, at Theater Dakota, at public library Schilderswijk and public library Nieuw Waldeck.
The Lighthouse, centre for debate, culture and innovation of the Haagse Hogeschool and Winternachten festival present, Thursday 18 January, at the Speakers' Corner the programme 'Dichterbij Dichters' (Close up to Poets) featuring poetry-slam talent Sanam Sheriff from India, poets Efe Murad (Turkey) and Ghayath Almadhoun (Sweden), and writer-poet Maarten van der Graaff from the Netherlands: Writers Unlimited introduces a new international literary generation. Participants read from their own work and Hassnae Bouazza discusses the expressiveness of poetry with the poets and the public.
Writers talks about their favourite book - the book that inspires or moves them; the book that formed their aristic, moral or intellectual compass; the book that they would recommend to anyone.
Francis Broekhuijsen presented students of The Hague high schools reading their own poetry, the result of workshops led by members of the Hague Poets' Guild. Poet and VSB Poëzieprijs 2018-nominee Charlotte Van den Broeck, young poetry slam-talent Sanam Sheriff from India and last year's participating student poet Paula Golunska - Young Campert Prize 2017 winner - kept them company and read from their works as well.
During each Spot on Young Poets event (Friday and Saturday), finalists for the Young Campert Prize 2018 were chosen. Both finalists read their poems during Sunday's Writers' Festival event, ahead of the award ceremony of the Jan Campert Foundation prizes. The public chose one of them as the winner of this prize for best Hague student poet. Come down and witness the literary future!
Francis Broekhuijsen presents students of The Hague high schools reading their own poetry, the result of workshops led by members of the Hague Poets' Guild. Poet and VSB Poëzieprijs 2018-nominee Joost Baars, young poetry slam-talent Sanam Sheriff from India and last year's participating student poet Paula Golunska - Young Campert Prize 12017 winner - keep them company and read from their works as well.
During each Spot on Young Poets event (Friday and Saturday), one finalist for the Young Campert Prize 2018 was chosen. Both finalists read their poems during Sunday's Writers' Festival event, ahead of the award ceremony of the Jan Campert Foundation prizes. The public chose one of them as the winner of this prize for best Hague student poet. Come down and witness the literary future!
Schiller's idealistic poem about Europe and humanity, adapted to the here and now! Writers Unlimited asked seven writers and poets each to write their own Ode to Joy. This evening they presented their newly written works.
Participants at this Odes 2.0 were Nino Haratischwili, Magda Cârneci, Sanam Sheriff, Efe Murad, Grazyna Plebanek, Gustaaf Peek. Ghayath Almadhoun and Charlotte Van den Broeck. They recited their work in their mother tongues, with simultaneous projections of Dutch and/or English translations. Classical accordionist Oleg Lysenko, Cellist Elisabeth Sturtewagen and soprano Jole De Baerdemaeker provided musical accompaniment.
Originally written in 1785, Schiller's Ode to Joy lives on because Ludwig van Beethoven added one of its stanzas to the finale (for choir and soloists) of his Ninth Symphony. In 1985, the European Union Chose this particular segment - albeit in wordless form - as the official hymn of the EU. In the poem, Schiller transmits the ideal of a world in which all people live in brotherhood.
The longing for a strong collective feeling has once again become a source of social movements around the world. That "we"-feeling feeds passionate new emancipation and indentity groups. It also causes social fragmentation and conflict.
Brotherhood, the third pillar of democracy from the French Revolution, has long been viewed as a less inflammatory societal value compared with Freedom and Equality. But the comeback of a strong collective feeling is connected to high levels of polarization and conflict in society.
Bas Heijne, winner of the P.C. Hooft Prize for his essays and a prominent NRC newspaper columnist, investigated why the power of a longing for Brotherhood is underestimated, with the help of Flemish cultural historian and writer David Van Reybrouck, Turkish poet and philosopher Efe Murad, German novelist Fatma Aydemir and Polish novelist and journalist Grazyna Plebanek. Together they looked for the contemporary words to express a sense of collective bonding.
The conversations were accompanied by performances of poetry slam-talent Sanam Sheriff (India), by live drawn illustrations by Gerda Dendooven (Belgium) and by music performed by classical accordionist Oleg Lysenko (Netherlands) and soprano Elisabeth Sturtewagen (Belgium).