“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

“We have been, and will continue to be, flooded with big books and little books and reports and documentary films all showing us how capitalism, racism, prisons, patriarchy, walls, and war are killing the planet. But this book is different. How Maynard and Simpson came to understand the world we must abolish and the world we need to build is through communing—with each other, comrades, friends and family, and the movements to which they make themselves accountable. They dance together, sing together, meditate, worship, and study together through letters, by sharing, by making themselves vulnerable to one another and to all of us reading these pages. Rehearsals for Living is a work of profound humility that honors the ancestors, the land, the children, and the struggles that enabled every generation to survive. They braid the histories and collective memories of Black and Indigenous struggles to establish a basis for solidarity, to find answers, and to reveal and share valuable lessons for our movements.”

—Robin D. G. Kelley, from the afterword

“In their inspired act of ‘writing together, walking together, witnessing these times together,’ Robyn Maynard and Leanne Simpson illuminate in essential ways the entwined lives of Black and Indigenous peoples. Rehearsals for Living honours legacies of courageous revolt against the ongoing histories of dispossession, incarceration, and violence. It is a book of relation, radical generosity, and care – a book, too, of running children, and the colour of the sky, and of ‘holding within [ourselves] that nascent shimmering of possibility.’ Above all, it is a book that poses and answers these most urgent questions: “how are we going to live and how are we going to live together?” 

— David Chariandy, author of Brother, and I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You

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

“As we collectively and unevenly live through sedimented colonialities, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Robyn Maynard draw out a political vision that emerges from epistolary connections—letters, animated by stories, that seek out, engage, imagine, and narrate different kinds and types of liberation. Accentuated by entangled black-indigenous histories and geographies, Rehearsals for Living actualizes friendship as correspondence, modeling a mode of togetherness that we can practice, learn from, and revise.”

—Katherine McKittrick, author of Demonic Grounds and Dear Science and Other Stories

“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

“Across the pandemic-imposed distance, Leanne and Robyn begin a new iteration of the practices they’ve enacted in their labors and loves for years—this origin rises in letters, in which they take account of (and consequently bear the physical, emotional, and intellectual burdens of that accounting) the intimate and public violences committed by our governments upon our peoples, lands, waters and non-human relatives. In these letters, Leanne and Robyn constellate our brightest wounds and scars, but refuse to waste their energies of love and imagination on fixing or salvaging the Nation/State. Instead, they reorganize the trajectories and shapes of those constellations—retelling stories again and anew, of who we have been and might yet be again.

—Natalie Diaz, author of Postcolonial Love Poem

Rehearsals for Living is an intellectually fierce dialogue about our colonial present by two of the most renowned scholar-activists working today. In a time of incredible uncertainty, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Robyn Maynard show that the shared and divergent histories of Black and Indigenous communities are foundational to the building of a better world for all.”

—Glen Coulthard, author of Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition

“Lyrical, visionary, and transcendent, Rehearsals for Living creates a literary maroon space deeply rooted in unique and overlapping histories and presents in which to dream abolition, home, love, land, liberatory forms of governance, life itself. While chronicling the continuing unfolding calamities of settler colonialism and racial capitalism with care and razor sharp clarity, Simpson and Maynard point readers to portals to different futures through the infinite possibilities of Black-Indigenous resistance. Give yourself the gift of allowing your heart and mind to overflow with the beauty and promise of Rehearsals‘ visions.”

—Andrea J. Ritchie, author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color and co-author of No More Police: A Case for Abolition

“The end of the world, or the end of capitalism, colonialism, heteropatriarchy, white supremacy? This astonishing work of literature and theory enables us to imagine the end of them all, and to call into being, to rehearse, a world anew. If pandemics opened portals, Rehearsals for Living reveals the places of Indigenous and Black freedom to which they might lead. At a time when we need it most, Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s letters generously invite us all to a future in which relations of liberation, not exploitation and oppression, constitute living on this planet together.”

—John Munro, author of The Anticolonial Front: The African American Freedom Movement and Global Decolonization, 1945–1960

“The beautifully named Rehearsals for Living is a gift conjured by a pair of brilliant scholars during the dark days and months of the pandemic, lit by a powerful resistance movement, fueled and rendered magical by a profound and challenging dialogue that offers ways to collectively think and be and act in a chaotic world.”  

—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

“What a pleasure and honor it is to read two such probing and principled minds in conversation and collaboration. Maynard and Simpson dare to confront the most wrenching challenges of our omnicidal times, while finding joy and love along the way. A beacon of a book.”

—Naomi Klein

“Using the age-old practice of letter writing and the land itself as a palimpsest, Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson find common ground to challenge the moral legitimacy of the settler nation state, and reinscribe new ways of what it means to be beings who are human in the forensic landscapes of Canada. Rehearsals for Living is fundamental to understanding the interlocking, founding crimes of the

Americas; necessary for remembering the many erased histories of the on-going struggle for justice, and altogether indispensable to those wanting to create possible solutions.

—M. NourbeSe Philip

“This book must be read for its future vocabularies, its political intimacies, its careful assemblage of the materials of our activisms, and its generous and fulsome thinking.”

—Dionne Brand