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.

May 2, 2023

‘There’s a reason that this has happened. Science could predict this outcome for me, even though I feel like I’m in constant chaos.’ Anna Spargo-Ryan is the author of the memoir A Kind of Magic. In this illuminating interview, she describes the gap between what science understands and what she’s experienced over a lifetime of mental illness.

Anna speaks about the profound impact one ‘silly’ suggestion from her therapist had, as well as the deficiency of language about mental illness and resulting misunderstandings. She also reads to us about the years when she faced an inability to exist on the weekends.   

Anna Spargo-Ryan is the author of two novels, The Gulf and The Paper House, and an acclaimed nonfiction writer and teacher. She was the inaugural winner of the Horne Prize and is the current nonfiction editor at Island Magazine.

Books and authors discussed in this episode:

Note: Nothing in this podcast is intended as medical advice. If you have concerns about your mental health, speak to your GP.

Upcoming events with Ashley:

Upcoming events with James:

  • Sydney Writers Festival presents James McKenzie Watson – Wednesday 24 May, 6.30-7.30 pm, Penrith City Library ($5 – book here)
  • Sydney Writers Festival Life in the Landscape – Thursday 25 May, 11 am to 12 pm, Carriageworks ($15-$25 – book here
  • Yarrum Storyfest – 1-2 July, Yarrum Regional Theatre, Yarrum, VIC ($25-$40 book here

Ashley's psychological thriller 'Dark Mode' is out now! Learn more about it and get your copy.

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

Get in touch!