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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.

Mar 30, 2021

James and Ashley listen to some audio of themselves when unwell and have a conversation about the psychological impacts of chronic ill-health, the fears and anxieties that accompany invisible illnesses, and how difficult conversations like this one are to have. 

Books (and cults) discussed in this episode:

  • Far from the...

Mar 16, 2021

James and Ashley interview Kavita Bedford, author of the novel 'Friends & Dark Shapes.' In it, they discuss the isolation and anonymity that comes with modern city living, the implications this disconnect has for those grieving, and the troubled relationship Sydney millennials have with their city and its...

Mar 2, 2021

James and Ashley interview David Vann, author of seven internationally bestselling novels including 2019's 'Halibut on the Moon.' In it, they discuss the trauma that inspired and haunts much of his work, the creative process that fosters his raw and visceral writing style, and the difficulties even an author of his...