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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.

Dec 19, 2023

It's books wrap-up season! James and Ashley are getting on the bandwagon and discussing their favourite reads from 2023 in the first annual 'Bed on a Plinth Awards.'

Books and authors discussed in this episode (warning: spoilers!):

  • Dark Mode by Ashley Kalagian Blunt
  • Crushing by Genevieve Novak
  • The Sun Walks Down by Fiona McFarlane
  • Desire by Jessie Cole
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  • A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders
  • The Wych Elm by Tana French
  • When One of Us Hurts by Monica Vuu
  • Fire with Fire by Candice Fox
  • Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent
  • Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier 
  • The Push by Ashley Audrain 
  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
  • The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward 

Learn more about Ashley's psychological thriller Dark Mode and get your copy here or from your local bookshop.

Learn more about James' award-winning novel Denizen and get your copy here or from your local bookshop.

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