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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 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 interview a LGBTIQA+ writer and shout-out books and authors from our rainbow communities. We’re sharing this episode of QWS in celebration of NAIDOC Week, which celebrates and recognises the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and is a chance to learn about First Nations cultures and histories. You can listen to each episode via Words and Nerds.

In this episode, Rob speaks with Professor Gregory Phillips, a writer from the Waanyi and Jaru Aboriginal Australian peoples. More information about this episode, including a transcript of the interview and list of books discussed, can be found here!

(Stick around to the end for 10 minutes of James and Ashley rambling about what they're reading.)

Books and authors discussed in this episode:

  • Addictions and Healing in Aboriginal Country by Professor Gregory Phillips
  • The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker by Lauren James
  • Cemetery Boys by Aidan Thomas
  • The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness by Meghan O'Rourke
  • The Ruins by Scott Smith

Denizen is coming out July 19! Find out more and pre-order here. Details about all the events discussed in this episode, including launch events in Sydney, Melbourne, Dubbo and online now available

Book your tickets to Writers Unleashed, the 2022 Sutherland Shire Writers Festival, here! This is an all day event on Saturday, September 3 2022, at Tradies Gymea in Southern Sydney. Both James and Ashley will be appearing at events - it would be wonderful to see you there!

Ashley's next online writing workshop, The Joy of Creative Writing, is on Monday 25 July, 7:45-9 pm AEST online via Zoom. Book in here!

Get in touch!