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James and Ashley are staying at home. Partly because there’s a pandemic, partly because they’re writers, and partly because of their health. Through discussions and interviews, they explore the big questions: how do books get written? How do people live with chronic illness? And just what ARE you reading?

Ashley Kalagian Blunt is author of two books, How to Be Australian, a memoir, and My Name Is Revenge, a thriller novella and collected essays. My Name is Revenge was a finalist in the 2018 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Woollahra Digital Literary Awards. Her writing appears in Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Big Issue, Westerly, Kill Your Darlings and more. She lives and works in Sydney, NSW. Find her on Twitter and Instagram or visit her website.

James McKenzie Watson won the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize for his novel Denizen, which also received a 2021 Varuna Residential Fellowship and 2021 KSP Fellowship, and was highly commended for the 2020 Writing NSW Varuna Fellowships. His short fiction has been recognised in competitions including the International InkTears Flash Fiction Contest and the Grieve Writing Competition, and featured in publications such as Baby Teeth Journal and Brave Voices Magazine. He works as a nurse in regional NSW. Find him on Twitter and Instagram or visit his website.

Ashley Kalagian Blunt and James McKenzie Watson

Jan 25, 2022

It's our 50th episode! Author Sarah Sentilles joins us to talk about her new memoir, Stanger Care. She discusses coping with unexpected loss, who counts as family, and how at heart, all of us are baby monkeys. She also shares how each of us can use our creativity to remake the world around us. 

Stranger Care is a memoir...


Jan 18, 2022

***Warning! Spoilers for Earthlings by Sayaka Murata in this episode***

After arguing about the intense and disturbing ending to Earthlings by Sayaka Murata in episode 45, James and Ashley rope past guest Jacinta Dietrich into returning to the podcast to try and figure out what might happened in the novel's closing...


Jan 11, 2022

How do we build community and a sense of self after loss, especially the kind of loss that echoes for generations? James and Ashley speak with Australian Sri Lankan author Shankari Chandran about her new novel, Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens, and how her efforts to find connection in the writing community echo her Tamil...