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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.

Jan 24, 2023

What happens when your job results in PTSD, forcing you into unexpected retirement? You write a memoir, of course! At least, that's what Dr Hilton Koppe did when he suddenly had to leave his practice as a rural GP. 

Hilton speaks to James and Ashley about his PTSD diagnosis, the secret of work/life, how he turned to creative writing as a form of therapeutic intervention, and seeking permission to share his patients' stories in his memoir. 

Hilton Koppe is a writer, workshop facilitator, podcaster and doctor living on Bundjalung land on the east coast of Australia. He co-hosts the podcast Dementia In Practice, and is the author of One Curious Doctor: A Memoir of Medicine, Migration and Mortality. 

Visit Hilton's website to learn more and get your copy of One Curious Doctor

Books and authors discussed in this episode:

  • The House of God by Samuel Shem;
  • Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales;
  • Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief by Victoria Chang;
  • The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill 

You can pre-order Dark Mode in Australia and in the UK, from these links or your favourite bookshop.

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

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