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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

Apr 19, 2022

If you've ever dreaded public speaking, this episode is for you! Author and podcaster Katherine Collette speaks about her charming new novel The Competition, which satirises the world of competitive speaking clubs. We explore why public speaking is so intimidating for most people. We also discuss Katherine's personal experience with public speaking clubs, and how they can build both confidence and empathy. As she says, 'You sign up to learn to speak. But the real power is in having to listen.' Finally, we answer the question – is some discomfort in life necessary?

Katherine Collette is a novelist, podcaster and engineer living in Melbourne with her husband and two children. Her debut novel, The Helpline, was published in Australia, Germany, Italy and the US and UK. She co-hosts the writing podcast The First Time with author Kate Mildenhall.

Books and authors discussed in this episode:

  • After Story by Larissa Behrendt;
  • David Sedaris;
  • Found, Wanting by Natasha Sholl;
  • Sarah Krasnostein;
  • Love Stories by Trent Dalton;
  • Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton;
  • Ben Hobson

Ashley is teaching in-person at Writing NSW! Crafting Memoir: An Introduction. Saturday 7 May 2022, 10am-4pm, in-person at Writing NSW, Callan Park, Sydney. Visit Writing NSW to learn more about their online course program

Get in touch!