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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.

Nov 28, 2023

‘I wanted to find compassion for me and for any writer out there who’s doing the best they can but it’s not working out the way they planned.’  

Author Laurie Steed shares how crippling anxiety affected both his literary career and his experience of fatherhood. Before he could address the anxiety, he first had...

Nov 7, 2023

‘When I was a lawyer, I knew what was good enough, because if you did the job properly, you were paid, and if you didn’t do the job properly, you were sued. It was very clear-cut. With writing, you never know. There’s a lot of subjectivity.’

James speaks with Penguin Literary Prize winning author Annette Higgs...

Oct 17, 2023

Ashley reveals the inspiration behind the twists and turns in her bestselling psychological thriller, Dark Mode

Together with return guest Jacinta Dietrich and self-described enthusiastic reader Ali Thomas, Ashley and James delve into every scintillating Dark Mode detail they normally can’t discuss, including the...

Sep 26, 2023

'I was still in that really optimistic, sort of naive, wonderful space as an early writer, where you think everything you write is just publishable.' Debut author Jonathon Shannon shares his journey from aspiring writer to published author – including the decision to join James and Ashley's writers' group. 

We discuss...

Sep 5, 2023

‘I conflate so many experiences throughout my life with the level of pain I was in at the time.’ Amy Lovat, debut author of Mistakes and Other Lovers and founder of Secret Book Stuff, gets real with us about the challenges of maintaining a creative practice with endometriosis.

She also discusses writing about the...