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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

Aug 4, 2022

Ashley's got some exciting news she's been bursting to share, and you're just going to have to listen to this episode to find out what it is! 

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Aug 2, 2022

This special episode is a recording of Denizen’s online launch, which was live-streamed on Thursday July 21, two days after Denizen’s release. It was one of a series of launch events, alongside in-person events in Dubbo and Sydney, and ahead of tonight's Melbourne launch (6:30pm August 3 at Readings Emporium -


Jul 18, 2022

'Denizen,' the Penguin Literary Prize winning novel from James McKenzie Watson is finally out in the world! In this episode, Ashley asks James about the experience of taking 'Denizen' from idea to published novel. He shares insights into how to seriously improve your writing craft and how to understand your work as...


Jul 5, 2022

In this bonus episode, James and Ashley share an episode from a brand new podcast series called Queer Writes Sessions (QWS), a Words and Nerds Podcast spin-off series in partnership with Blarney Books & Art. The series is hosted by R.W.R. McDonald, who we interviewed in episode 32.

Each month, QWS Podcast will...


Jun 21, 2022

After a broken finger brought on a debilitating illness, author Rae Cairns lost two years as her doctors searched for the right treatment. A bad reaction to drugs caused her hair to fall out. When her health had stabilised enough for her to return to writing, she lost her literary agent. Undeterred, Rae self-published...