Banzeiro Òkòtó: The Amazon as the Centre of the World


Eliane Brum

Translated by Diane Whitty

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Ebook available on 9 March 2023

Available in 5 months
SKU: 9781911648611 Category:

9 March 2023
ISBN 978-1911648611
Cover design © Luke Bird
Front cover artwork by Lilo Clareto
Demy 135mm x 216mm paperback with flaps

A confrontation with the destruction of the Amazon by a writer who moved her life into the heart of the forest.

In lyrical, impassioned prose, Eliane Brum recounts her move from São Paulo to Altamira, a city along the Xingu River that has been devastated by the construction of one of the largest dams in the world. In community with the human and more-than-human world of the Amazon, Brum seeks to ‘reforest’ herself while building relationships with forest peoples who carry both the scars and the resistance of the forest in their bodies. 

Weaving together the lived stories of the region and its history of violent corruption and destruction, Banzeiro Òkòtó is a call for radical change, for the creation of a new kind of human being capable of facing the potential extinction of our species. In it, Brum reveals the direct links between structural inequities rooted in gender, race, class, and even species, and the suffering that capitalism and climate breakdown wreak on those who are least responsible for them.

The title Banzeiro Òkòtó features words from two cultural and linguistic traditions: banzeiro is what the Amazon people call the place where the river turns into a fearsome vortex, and òkòtó is the Yoruba word for a shell that spirals outward into infinity. Like the Xingu River, turning as it flows, this book is a fierce document of transformation arguing for the centrality of the Amazon to all our lives.


‘Eliane Brum’s book is an instant classic.’
— Antonio Nobre, scientist & Amazon activist

‘I never tire of saying how great Eliane Brum is.’
— Juma Xipaia, indigenous leader, in attendance at COP26

‘Reading Banzeiro Òkòtó is a way of forging alliances on behalf of human and nonhuman lives, a vital resource as we confront the grim momentum of destruction.’
— Sul 21

‘Eliane calls the Amazon region the centre of the world. In her opinion, this is a political rather than a geographical stance, since this territory is of vast importance to the rest of the world. Given the climate emergency that we are facing, it is fundamental to urgently turn our attention to the region, whether because of its potential to regulate the climate or to understand what faces us tomorrow.’
— Marie Claire


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