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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 is the author of Denizen, which won the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize and was shortlisted in 2023 Ned Kelly Awards for Best Debut. His writing has appeared in The GuardianMeanjinKill Your Darlings and the Newtown Review of Books. He has appeared at events including the Sydney Writers Festival, Newcastle Writers Festival and BAD Crime Sydney. He works as a nurse. Find him on Twitter and Instagram or visit his website.

Aug 31, 2021

James and Ashley interview Michelle Tom about her stunning memoir 'Ten Thousand Aftershocks.' In it, they discuss the captivating and highly original structure of Michelle's book, the strange parallels between childhood trauma and earthquakes, and the transformative power of owning your narrative. 

Learn more about Michelle on her website, and buy a copy of Ten Thousand Aftershocks from your local bookshopBooktopia or wherever else books are sold. 

Join Ashley for a fun online creative workshop, Monday 6 Sept, 6:15pm AEST. Book here!

Books and authors discussed in this episode:

  • Memoir Writing For Dummies by Ryan Van Cleave;
  • Trespasses: A Memoir by Lacy M Johnson;
  • The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch;
  • Lee Child's Jack Reacher series;
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf;
  • The Return by Rachel Harrison;
  • It by Stephen King;
  • Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon (of course!)

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