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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.

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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