Margins and Murmurations: the podcast. Inspired by themes from her novels, author and community organiser, Kes Otter Lieffe – and friends – discuss anything from s3x worker rights and trans herbalism to friendship and queer ecology.  Kes is the author of Margins – a trilogy of queer and trans speculative fiction novels in which marginalised characters take centre stage in stories of powerful resistance. She is also a community organiser focusing on the intersection of queerness, class and ecology.

Welcome to Margins and Murmurations: the podcast. Inspired by themes from my novels, I’m hosting this cosy podcast discussing anything from solidarity movements and trans herbalism to friendship and queer ecology.

You can support this podcast by sharing it with friends and by donations through Patreon.
Other support ideas here.

All episodes also available on Spotify. RSS feed here.

Episode 12. Queer Plants with Anja Van Geert

Last year, Anja and I released Queer Plants and friends, another zine in our queer ecology colouring book series, full of Anja’s beautiful illustrations. In this cosy chat, we geek out about plants and queerness, we discuss how Anja is bringing community, healing and drawing together, and we get excited about some of our upcoming collaborations!

Samirah Siddiqui is the Programme Coordinator for the Global Environments Network. Samirah is a conservation biologist, focusing on marine and coastal habitats. Her experience working within human rights, environmental, and social impact organisations, training in life sciences, and experience with art and activism have positioned her focus at the intersection of ecology, social sciences, and art. Her interdisciplinary and anti-colonial perspective is at the centre of her work, which seeks to disrupt silos between art, activism, and academia. Samirah is the Managing Editor for Project Myopia, an online magazine dedicated to decolonising university curricula by crowdsourcing diverse material from students.

Episode 10. Decolonising Conservation with Samirah Siddiqui

In my second novel, Conserve and Control, I wrote about the damaging effects of the conservation industry, albeit a fictional, futuristic one. I’ve been fascinated by conservation since I was very young and I was honoured to recently record this conversation with Samirah Siddiqui from Global Environments Network about her amazing work in conservation biology, her critiques on some of the colonialist aspects of the conservation industry and alternatives she has been witness to.

Episode 8. Community healing and Anti-capitalism with Cindy

A few years ago I had a beautiful conversation with Cindy for my blog. In this new podcast episode we got to reconnect and discuss allopathic medicine, bodywork, prisons and solidarity. We also got pretty deep into individualism, celebrity culture and learning to live collectively.

Jess is a prison abolitionist and ecologist-in-training, who has an interest in languages, mycology, and building for the revolution. In their spare time, they like putting their hands in deep piles of moss, cooking, and collecting piles of books they never read.

Episode 7. Polari with Jess

In Conserve and Control, a resistance community use Polari as their communicative language. Parts of my first novel, Margins and Murmurations, were translated into Polari and it was the first language/slang that any of my work was translated into. Those translations and dialogues were written by my fabulous friend, Jess. In this conversation – recorded in 2018 during a book tour – we chat about the origins and future of Polari, the politics of sex work, class and queerness and Jess’s personal journey with this incredibly fabulous queer cant slang.

Episode 6. Queer Ecology with Jo

In my second novel, Conserve and Control, I imagined a futuristic museum with exhibits on queer ecology. Three years later I found out that our Queer Animals zine was being featured in just such an exhibit in Switzerland. During a beautiful, noisy queer festival, I met up with Jo who teaches at the exhibit to talk all things queer ecology. We also explored species loneliness, colonialism and finding connection.

Felix is a founding member and core volunteer at Books Beyond Bars. Alongside this, they are a research associate, book nerd and cat parent living in Manchester, dreaming of a better world than the one we live in.

Episode 5. Solidarity and Queer Community with Felix McNulty

During my first book tours back in 2017/18 I got to work with groups like Action for Trans Health and LGBT Books to Prisoners and, along the way, I met some incredible people like Felix. They are part of the team running Books Beyond Bars UK and in this conversation we discuss what solidarity with queer/trans prisoners can look like, how to keep academia grounded in activism and how to get queer politics back on track.

Episode 4. Transformative Friendships with SJ

I’ve had the honour of meeting SJ through our community organising work in Berlin and after many months of sending each other ‘podcasts’ (i.e. very long voice memos), we finally made a real, official podcast together! In this gorgeous conversation, snuggled up in a quiet corner of a community centre, we discuss friendship, transformation and forgiveness and how different our marginalised communities could be.

Ayelet Adelman, Jewish educator and trans herbalist who runs a trans herbal clinic in Brooklyn, New York
Photo by Chana Shapiro

Episode 3. Trans Herbalism with Ayelet Adelman

In Margins I wrote about a herbal clinic run by trans and queer folk that forms part of a resistance movement against state oppression. In real life, my gorgeous sister Ayelet has created a herbal medicine clinic centering trans femmes and trans women in so-called New York City. In this episode, we talk about trans herbalism, Jewish connections, transmisogyny in holistic health care and choosing relationship with plants and life around us.

Episode 2. Ash in the forest

Story time!

Welcome to the second episode.
Time for a story in one of my favourite spots among the trees. An excerpt from my first novel, Margins and Murmurations. 

Episode 1. Starlings and Murmurations

Welcome to the first ever episode of Margins and Murmurations: the podcast! 

What is a murmuration and what is it about starlings that I find so exciting? Join me for a chat about one of my favourite bird species, what they mean to me as an ecologist and community organiser and get some insights into my writing. Here’s to the starlings!

Would you like to be on the podcast?

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