Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

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 23, 2022

Author Bronwyn Birdsall joins us to discuss the writing of her first novel, 'Time and Tide in Sarajevo,' and her life after chronic fatigue syndrome. We discuss living with a mindset of rest and recovery, moving overseas and reinventing yourself, and the question at the heart of the book – how do we find hope in a world that feels beyond repair?  

As always, nothing in this episode is intended as medical advice. 

Bronwyn Birdsall grew up in Sydney. At the age of twenty-four, she moved to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and worked as an English teacher. The four years she spent there provided the inspiration for 'Time and Tide in Sarajevo.' Her writing centres around contemporary life and finding meaning in the everyday. She writes from her home on Bundjalung Country, in Northern New South Wales.

Books and authors discussed in this episode:

  • Sarah Sentilles; 
  • Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski;
  • Indelible City by Louisa Lim; 
  • The Writer Laid Bare by Lee Kofman;  
  • Songs of a Dead Dreamer by Thomas Ligotti; 
  • A Kind of Magic by Anna Spargo-Ryan; 
  • The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis; 
  • The Whispering by Veronica Lando 

Get your copy of 'Tide and Tide in Sarajevo' from your local bookshopBooktopia or wherever else good books are sold. 

James' novel 'Denizen' is out now! Learn more about it and buy your copy here. 

Upcoming events:

  • James: Author talk at Taree Library, Friday 26 August 2022, 11am-12pm, free, RSVP here.  
  • James: Author talk at Port Macquarie Library, Saturday 27 August 2022, 10:30-11:30am, free, RSVP here.  
  • James and Ashley: Writers Unleashed (Sutherland Shire Writers Festival), Saturday 3 September, 9.30-5pm.
  • James: BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival 2022, 'Three Prizewinners Walk into a Bar...' Friday 9 September, 3-4pm.
  • Ashley is teaching The Joy of Creative Writing, Tuesday 30 August, 7.45-9pm, online via Zoom.
  • Ashley's new six-week course Online: Creative Non-Fiction takes place Monday 31 October to Friday 9 December 2022, through Writing NSW. 

Get in touch!