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.

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 status and calibre faces in the modern publishing landscape.

Just a warning: this episode contains an explicit conversation about suicide and mental illness. 

Learn more about David on his website, and buy a copy of 'Halibut on the Moon' from your local bookshopBooktopia, or wherever else books are sold. David's back catalogue is also available to purchase on Booktopia and Amazon

Books discussed in this episode:

  • Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
  • My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  • The World According to Garp by John Irving
  • Goat Mountain; Aquarium; Legend of a Suicide; Bright Air Black; Dirt; Last Day on Earth by David Vann
  • Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
  • Shadow Child by PF Thomése
  • Eight Lives by Susan Hurley
  • The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright

Get in touch!

Ashley's Website:

Ashley's Twitter: @AKalagianBlunt

James' Website:

James' Twitter: @JamesMcWatson