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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 17, 2021

James and Ashley interview Kay Kerr and Anna Whateley, neurodiverse authors of young-adult fiction. In it, Kay and Anna discuss their journeys to diagnosis as adults, their upcoming second books, and their remarkable friendship.

Learn more about Kay on her website, and buy a copy of her debut novel 'Please Don't Hug Me' from your local bookshopBooktopia or wherever else books are sold. 

Learn more about Anna on her website, and buy a copy of her debut novel 'Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal' from your local bookshopBooktopia or wherever else books are sold. 

Books and authors discussed in this episode

  • Late Bloomer by Clem Bastow;
  • The Boy from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough;
  • Henry Hamlet's Heart by Rhiannon Wilde;
  • Future Girl by Asphyxia;
  • When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro;
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro;
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro;
  • Vodka and Apple Juice by Jay Martin;
  • A History of My Brief History by Billy Ray Belcourt;
  • The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

You can read James' interview with Writing NSW here

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