Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

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.

Oct 4, 2022

Author Al Campbell joins us to discuss her debut book 'The Keepers,' a fictionalised account of her own life both as the mother of two autistic boys and the survivor of an abusive parent. 

Al shares the reasons behind her choice to write fiction instead of memoir, what people don't realise about the life of a full-time carer, and the struggle for disability advocacy. 

'The Keepers' is a contemporary Australian novel infused with deep love and wild torment, 'about the damage done by parents who can’t love, the failures of a community that only claims to care, and the resilience of those whose stories mostly go untold'.

Born in Brisbane, Al Campbell is a mother and full-time carer. Long ago she studied a bit, acted a bit, and pulled a lot of beers. Her first publication was in 'Overland' in 2020, followed by a story in 'Signs of Life.' 'The Keepers' is about issues – and people – that matter to her more than anything.

Get your copy of 'The Keepers' from your local bookshopBooktopia or wherever good books are sold.

Plus, check out the online courses from Writing NSW, including the six-week Online: Creative Non-fiction with Ashley, starting 31 October. 

Books and authors discussed in this episode:

  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte;
  • David Vann;
  • Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon;
  • We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver;
  • The Signal Line by Brendan Colley;
  • Denizen by James McKenzie Watson;
  • The Writer Laid Bare by Lee Kofman (who we spoke to back in ep 4);
  • The Suspect by Michael Robotham;
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy;
  • All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy;
  • Curlews on Vulture Street by Darryl Jones;
  • The Whispering by Veronica Lando;
  • Vikki Petraitis

James' novel 'Denizen' is out now! Learn more about it and buy your copy here. 

Get in touch!