Photo courtesy of Azja Kulpińska
Over the last nine months, the project of releasing Margins and Murmurations into the world has brought me closer to some kind of fame than any of the decades of political work that came before it.
I’ve given my first public book reading, on a theatre stage in Marseilles, to 150 sex workers, and 20 more readings after that. I had my first musical collaboration—in a squatted trailer park in Berlin—with non-binary duo, Body of Work. I gave my first radio interviews, in Germany and Australia. People I don’t know come to talk to me in parties to get a copy signed. People I don’t know have my book poking out of their sparkly handbags.
And it’s odd because writing a book probably isn’t the most important thing I’ve done. Don’t get me wrong, Margins is really, really good, and yes, important, but I’ve realized that a novel comes with a certain recognition that background, feminized, supportive labour never does. People whisper the word author with an awe that community-organiser, cleaner, trauma supporter, squatter-gardener, therapist, teacher just doesn’t attract. Perhaps it’s because novels are art and art is considered something very important by certain people with power. Virtually all successful authors are middle-class for a reason.