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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? Hosted by James McKenzie Watson, winner of the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize, and Ashley Kalagian Blunt, author of 'How to Be Australian.'
 
Brazil is going through turbulent times. There’s never been a more important moment to understand Brazil’s politics, society, and culture. To go beyond the headlines, and to ask questions that aren’t easy to answer. 'Brazil Unfiltered,' a new podcast from Brown University and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, will do just that. This bi-weekly podcast is hosted by James Green, Professor of Brazilian History and Culture at Brown University and the Director of Brown’s B ...
 
“The Memoir of my Aunt, Jane Austen, has been received with more favour than I had ventured to expect. The notices taken of it in the periodical press, as well as letters addressed to me by many with whom I am not personally acquainted, show that an unabated interest is still taken in every particular that can be told about her. I am thus encouraged not only to offer a Second Edition of the Memoir, but also to enlarge it with some additional matter which I might have scrupled to intrude on t ...
 
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show series
 
Ashley interviews author and editor Heather Taylor-Johnson. When Heather was diagnosed with Ménière's disease at age 25, one of the many things it meant was quitting skydiving. She discusses how more than two decades of living with chronic illness have inspired her writing and led to the anthology 'Shaping the Fractured Self: Poetry of Illness and …
 
James and Ashley interview David Heska Wanbli Weiden about his multi-award-winning debut novel 'Winter Counts.' In it, they discuss the bizarre quirks of American law that see crimes on Native American Reservations go unpunished, the importance of food in cultural reclamation, and the marvel of Carhenge. Learn more about David on his website, and b…
 
One of my passions since the semi-return to normal instruction in hopefully the receding wake of COVID, is to retain successful aspects of virtual instruction and then to include them in-person instruction. I’ve heard a lot of students and instructors say, “I never want to be on another Zoom call again.” Well, that’s not realistic. There were aspec…
 
James and Ashley interview Lyn Yeowart, author of the rural-noir thriller, 'The Silent Listener.' In it, they discuss how Lyn's own childhood shaped the events in the book, the fascinating world of synesthesia, and why it's never too late to start writing. Learn more about Lyn on her website, and buy a copy of 'The Silent Listener' from your local …
 
James and Ashley interview Michelle Tom about her stunning memoir 'Ten Thousand Aftershocks.' In it, they discuss the captivating and highly original structure of Michelle's book, the strange parallels between childhood trauma and earthquakes, and the transformative power of owning your narrative. Learn more about Michelle on her website, and buy a…
 
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 bookshop, Bo…
 
Imagine a high school girl from Texas deciding to venture to Denmark as an exchange student. Talk about a culture and a climate shock. I’m describing the young Jennifer Burke-Hansen. What’s interesting about Jennifer is that she became enchanted with this tiny nation of 6 million on the scenic Jutland Peninsula. So much so that she’s resided there …
 
James and Ashley interview Fiona Murphy about her memoir 'The Shape of Sound.' In it, they discuss the complexities of Deaf culture and identity, the corrosive power of secrets, and the challenges of being deaf in the healthcare industry. Learn more about Fiona on her website, and buy a copy of The Shape of Sound from your local bookshop, Booktopia…
 
James and Ashley are interviewed by Amy Lovat of Secret Book Stuff (who they interviewed in episode 34), for Amy & Laura's radio show 'Reading Makes You Better in Bed.' In it, they discuss reading habits, the history of James and Ashley's podcast, and whether or not reading really does make you better in bed. This interview originally aired on Newc…
 
James and Ashley interview Amy and Laura, multitalented writers, social entrepreneurs, and radio hosts/podcasters from Newcastle, NSW. In it, they discuss the story behind Secret Book Stuff, transformative writing, and, of course, why reading makes you better in bed. You can learn more about Secret Book Stuff on their website, follow them on Instag…
 
James and Ashley interview GP and author Joanna Nell about her new novel 'The Great Escape from Woodland's Nursing Home.' In it, they discuss positive ageing, the challenges faced by Australia's aged care system, and the runaway success of the 'uplit' genre. Learn more about Joanna on her website, and buy a copy of 'The Great Escape from Woodland's…
 
James and Ashley interview RWR McDonald about his new novel 'Nancy Business,' follow-up to the bestselling 'The Nancys.' In it, they discuss the parallels between the original girl detective Nancy Drew and The Nancys' Tippy Chan, the art of balancing the humorous and heavy in fiction writing, and the physical toll of a creative life. Learn more abo…
 
I’m going to describe a student. I’ll bet you can picture one similar. This kid seems unenthused by many of the prompts and activities that are issued or done in class. It isn’t that they are incapable, in fact just the opposite. They master directives quickly and effortlessly. Unfortunately, they complete their efforts without much enthusiasm. The…
 
James and Ashley interview Ruhi Lee, author of the hilarious and heartbreaking memoir 'Good Indian Daughter.' In it, they discuss what it means to be a girl in a South Asian family, the notion of unconditional parental love, and how one generation avoids making the same mistakes as the last. Follow Ruhi on Instagram (@lee_ruhi), and buy a copy of '…
 
Ashley interviews a mystery guest from the Varuna Writer's House in Katoomba, NSW, where he's midway through a residential fellowship (hint: it's James). An episode for both those who've never been on a residential writing retreat and those who want to reminisce about their time at Varuna! You can learn more about Varuna and the incredible work it …
 
I think that every educator has heard the following, “I didn’t do well on this assessment because I have test anxiety.” The fact that every teacher has heard this should be a red flag. Certainly, a bit of test anxiety is healthy—I mean you have to be motivated enough to study. The problem is when test anxiety results in diminished performance. Not …
 
I went to grade school in a small town. Our school was right on Main Street in the town center. A few of my most vivid memories were the brief class excursions into town. On various days, we visited the post office, the dairy, the glass blower, and the bakery. I had no aspirations to be a postman, a dairy farmer, a glass blower, or baker. Regardles…
 
James and Ashley interview Yumiko Kadota about her memoir 'Emotional Female,' which tells the story of her time as a junior doctor in the NSW public system. In it, they discuss the devastating effects of burnout, the difficulties women of colour face in the public health system, and the possible future directions of chronic fatigue research. Follow…
 
James and Ashley interview Emily Maguire about her stunning new novel 'Love Objects.' In it, they discuss our relationships with our belongings, the psychology of hoarding, and the beauty of writing for connection. Learn more about Emily on her website, and buy a copy of 'Love Objects' from your local bookshop, Booktopia or wherever else books are …
 
The bubblefication of the United States is much written about and much talked about. We tend to live around, interact with, watch media outlets populated, and are entertained by...people who think like we do and probably look like we do. That’s too bad, because while bubbles can feel safe, they are also limiting. The scary part of our bubbles is th…
 
James and Ashley interview Luke Stegemann, author of 'Amnesia Road.' In it, they discuss the parallels between South-West Queensland and rural Andalusia's violent pasts, the ongoing ramifications of near-forgotten genocides, and little black dogs that portend death. You can follow Luke on Twitter, or buy a copy of 'Amnesia Road' from your local boo…
 
This seems like a totally incongruent title. How in the world can you use assessment to forge strong relationships with students? And yet in this episode. My guest and I will attempt to answer this question. The key is student revision based on teacher feedback. Two tech tools that are instrumental in this process are the Google extension Mote and …
 
James and Ashley listen to some audio of themselves when unwell and have a conversation about the psychological impacts of chronic ill-health, the fears and anxieties that accompany invisible illnesses, and how difficult conversations like this one are to have. Books (and cults) discussed in this episode: Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon; Earthl…
 
James and Ashley interview Kavita Bedford, author of the novel 'Friends & Dark Shapes.' In it, they discuss the isolation and anonymity that comes with modern city living, the implications this disconnect has for those grieving, and the troubled relationship Sydney millennials have with their city and its identity. Learn more about Kavita on her we…
 
The attack on the capitol should be a wakeup call for educators. We have a moral obligation to help students evaluate online sources. Perhaps through our efforts, kids will develop a healthy skepticism about all sources. Unfortunately, many contemporary adults have trained their young to reserve their skepticism only for those sources that emanate …
 
James and Ashley interview David Vann, author of seven internationally bestselling novels including 2019's 'Halibut on the Moon.' In it, they discuss the trauma that inspired and haunts much of his work, the creative process that fosters his raw and visceral writing style, and the difficulties even an author of his status and calibre faces in the m…
 
I’ve always been fascinated as to how calamities, such as war, lead to innovations that benefit humankind long after the conflict abates. WWII, for example, sponsored all of the following: Antibiotics Radar Jet Aircraft Computers Satellites The old adage Necessity is the mother of invention could be applied to each of these quantum technological le…
 
James and Ashley interview Nash, artist and author of 'What to Expect When You're Immigrating,' a hilarious and insightful commentary on the Australian immigration process. In it, they discuss using humour to cope with stressful situations, the challenges faced by new arrivals to Australia, and the commonalities between Sri Lanka and Melbourne (hin…
 
This bonus episode contains a ten-minute excerpt from the newly released audiobook of Ashley's first book, 'My Name is Revenge.' On 17 December 1980, at 9:47 am, two men shot the Turkish consul-general to Sydney and his bodyguard near the consul's home in Vaucluse. The assassins aimed, fired, and vanished. A finalist in the 2018 Carmel Bird Digital…
 
James and Ashley interview Josephine Taylor, author of 'Eye of a Rook.' In it, they discuss vulvodynia, a poorly understood and often debilitating gynaecological condition, how this illness has shaped Josephine's life, and the stunning novel it's inspired her to write. Find out more about Josephine at her website, and buy a copy of 'Eye of a Rook' …
 
In this special crossover episode, James and Ashley interview Dani Vee from the Words and Nerds podcast and vice versa. It's a fascinating conversation about podcasting, health, reading, and why we're all doing what we're doing. This conversation is being simultaneously released as an episode of Words and Nerds. Big thanks to Dani for editing this …
 
The best thing about social media is that it keeps you connected with significant people. It’s kept me connected to many former students. I’m going to talk to one today. Ty DeLong was a student in my Economics class almost 2 decades ago. Ty lives in Nashville. He’s a software engineer. He’s a devoted husband and father. I’m really proud of him. A f…
 
James and Ashley interview Nardi Simpson, Yuwaalaraay musician and author of 'Song of the Crocodile.' In it, they discuss Nardi's transition from writing lyrics to prose, the preservation of Indigenous languages, and the importance of non-Indigenous Australians accepting that some elements of Indigenous culture are not accessible to them. Find out …
 
In the last episode for 2020, James and Ashley gather some fantastic writing tips provided by authors interviewed in the first sixteen podcasts. It features contributions from Kate Mildenhall, Anna Downes, Elizabeth Tan, Petronella McGovern and Ada Palmer. Don't forget to listen to the whole interviews these excerpts came from if you haven't alread…
 
James and Ashley interview Ada Palmer, historian, composer and author of the 'Terra Ignota' sci-fi/fantasy book series. In it, they discuss Ada's astonishing body of work and how she's managed to achieve it while managing a number of invisible illnesses. They also explore the impact of COVID-19 on research, the relationship between identity and dis…
 
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