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Through discussions and interviews with writers, artists and health professionals, author friends James McKenzie Watson and Ashley Kalagian Blunt explore the big questions: how do books get written? How do people navigate life with chronic illness? And just what are you reading?

Ashley Kalagian Blunt is the author of Dark Mode, an internationally published psychological thriller. Her earlier books are How to Be Australian, a memoir, and My Name Is Revenge, collected fiction and essays. Her writing appears in the Sydney Morning Herald, Overland, Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books, and more. Ashley is an enthusiastic teacher of writing and creativity. Originally from Canada, she has lived and worked in South Korea, Peru and Mexico. Find her on Twitter and Instagram or visit her website.

James McKenzie Watson won the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize for his novel Denizen, which was published by Penguin Random House in 2022. Denizen also received a 2021 Varuna Residential Fellowship and a 2021 KSP Residential Fellowship. James' short stories have been recognised in Australian and international competitions. His writing has appeared in The GuardianMeanjinKill Your Darlings and the Newtown Review of Books. He works as a nurse. Find him on Twitter and Instagram or visit his website.

Jul 20, 2021

James and Ashley interview Amy and Laura, multitalented writers, social entrepreneurs, and radio hosts/podcasters from Newcastle, NSW. In it, they discuss the story behind Secret Book Stuff, transformative writing, and, of course, why reading makes you better in bed. 

You can learn more about Secret Book Stuff on their website, follow them on Instagram and Facebook, or explore their various radio shows/podcast appearances.

Books and authors discussed in this episode
- Hold Your Own by Kae Tempest;
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote;
- High Fidelity by Nick Hornby;
- White Oleander by Janet Fitch;
- Insomniac City by Bill Hayes;
- Animal People by Charlotte Wood;
- Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman;
- Tonight I'm Someone Else by Chelsea Hodson;
- Felicity by Mary Oliver;
- I'll Tell You in Person by Chloe Caldwell;
- Women by Chloe Caldwell;
- Joan Didion;
- Samantha Irby;
- The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien;
- The Neverending Story by Michael Ende;
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel;
- Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid;
- Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid;
- Betty by Tiffany McDaniel;
- The Animals in that Country by Laura Jean McKay;  
- Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez;
- A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet;
- Ghost Species by James Bradley (read James's review here)

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