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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

Feb 2, 2021

James and Ashley interview Josephine Taylor, author of 'Eye of a Rook.' In it, they discuss vulvodynia, a poorly understood and often debilitating gynaecological condition, how this illness has shaped Josephine's life, and the stunning novel it's inspired her to write.

Find out more about Josephine at her website, and buy a copy of 'Eye of a Rook' from your local bookshop, Booktopia, or wherever else books are sold. You can also check out Josephine's #FridayCookBook project on Instagram and join her for her Avid Reader online event with Lee Kofman on February 9, 2021.

For more support and information about vulvodynia, visit the following resources:

Books discussed in this episode:

  • The Fifth Season by Philip Salem
  • Wintering by Krissy Kneen
  • 'The Wife's Story' by Ursula K LeGuin
  • Imperfect by Lee Kofman (who we spoke to in episode 3)
  • Unlike the Heart by Nicola Redhouse
  • Pain and Prejudice by Gabrielle Jackson
  • Show Me Where It Hurts by Kylie Maslen
  • Hysteria by Katerina Bryant
  • One Day I'll Remember This: Diaries 1987-1995 by Helen Garner
  • In the Woods by Tana French

Get in touch!

Ashley's Website:

Ashley's Twitter: @AKalagianBlunt

James' Website:

James' Twitter: @JamesMcWatson