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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

Jul 20, 2021

James and Ashley interview Amy and Laura, multitalented writers, social entrepreneurs, and radio hosts/podcasters from Newcastle, NSW. In it, they discuss the story behind Secret Book Stuff, transformative writing, and, of course, why reading makes you better in bed. 

You can learn more about Secret Book Stuff on their website, follow them on Instagram and Facebook, or explore their various radio shows/podcast appearances.

Books and authors discussed in this episode
- Hold Your Own by Kae Tempest;
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote;
- High Fidelity by Nick Hornby;
- White Oleander by Janet Fitch;
- Insomniac City by Bill Hayes;
- Animal People by Charlotte Wood;
- Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman;
- Tonight I'm Someone Else by Chelsea Hodson;
- Felicity by Mary Oliver;
- I'll Tell You in Person by Chloe Caldwell;
- Women by Chloe Caldwell;
- Joan Didion;
- Samantha Irby;
- The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien;
- The Neverending Story by Michael Ende;
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel;
- Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid;
- Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid;
- Betty by Tiffany McDaniel;
- The Animals in that Country by Laura Jean McKay;  
- Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez;
- A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet;
- Ghost Species by James Bradley (read James's review here)

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