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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 of Sarah and her husband’s experience with the foster system in Idaho and the ten months they parented an infant named Coco, only to return her to her loving but vulnerable mother.  

Sarah Sentilles is the author of Draw Your Weapons, Breaking Up with God, A Church of Her Own and Taught by America. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Divinity School, she lives in Idaho’s Wood River Valley. Her latest book is Stranger Care: A Memoir of Loving What Isn’t Ours. You can buy a copy of Stranger Care from your local bookshopBooktopia or wherever else books are sold, and find Sarah's workshops and retreats at

Books and authors discussed in this episode:

  • Draw Your Weapons by Sarah Sentilles;
  • This Accident of Being Lost by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson;
  • The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World by Elaine Scarry;
  • The Rabbits by Sophie Overett;
  • Bewilderment by Richard Powers;
  • 'The abortion I didn't have' by Merrit Tierce;
  • A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet

Ashley's Joy of Creative Writing workshop: Monday 31 January 2022, 7:45-9pm AEDT, Online via Zoom 
Whether you haven’t written creatively since high school or you’re the author of 12 books, this fun class will help you get your creativity flowing. Get your ticket here.

Library through the Lens: Ashley in conversation with Anna Downes: Thursday 3 February 2022, 11am AEDT, Online via Zoom
Join Ashley in conversation with international bestselling thriller author Anna Downes as she talks about her much-anticipated second novel. Free, RSVP here.

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