Ep 65 What people don’t know with author Al Campbell

Author Al Campbell on James and Ashley Stay at Home podcast, with headshot and book cover

‘For most people, when they become a carer, it happens in an instant.’ This is the way it happened for Al Campbell, Brisbane-based author and mother to two autistic sons.

In episode 65 of James and Ashley Stay at Home, Al joins us to discuss her debut book The Keepers, a fictionalised account of her own life both as the mother of two autistic boys and the survivor of an abusive parent.

Born in Brisbane, Al Campbell is a mother and full-time carer. Long ago she studied a bit, acted a bit, and pulled a lot of beers. Her first publication was in Overland in 2020, followed by a story in Signs of Life. The Keepers is about issues – and people – that matter to her more than anything.

The Keepers is a contemporary Australian novel infused with deep love and wild torment. It’s ‘about the damage done by parents who can’t love, the failures of a community that only claims to care, and the resilience of those whose stories mostly go untold.’

She reveals the literary Easter egg behind the novel’s title, her decision to write fiction rather than memoir, and the many-layered challenges of being a disability advocate.

Books and authors discussed in this episode
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte;
– David Vann;
Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon;
We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver;
The Signal Line by Brendan Colley;
Denizen by James McKenzie Watson (featured in ep 60);
The Writer Laid Bare by Lee Kofman (who we spoke to back in ep 3);
The Suspect by Michael Robotham;
The Road by Cormac McCarthy;
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy;
Curlews on Vulture Street by Darryl Jones;
The Whispering by Veronica Lando;
– Vikki Petraitis

Listen to this episode of James and Ashley Stay at Home here, or on Apple podcasts, SpotifyStitcher, or your favourite podcast app, and find out about past episodes here.


Online: Creative Non-Fiction Workshop with author ashley kalagian blunt, information about this course on the Writing NSW courses website and a copy of her book cover, How to Be Australian, a memoir

Online: Creative Non-Fiction course
Monday 31 October to Friday 9 December 2022, online
Writing NSW

This six-week online course with author Ashley Kalagian Blunt is an opportunity for you to delve into the dynamic world of creative non-fiction. You’ll try new techniques to stretch your writing muscles, and receive feedback in a supportive and encouraging setting.

Each lesson will include writing exercises designed to help you practise a wide range of skills, and weekly deadlines for short assignments will provide motivation. You can work toward the completion of a short-form piece for submission at the end of the course, or develop your skills for a longer project. For full details and to enrol, visit Writing NSW >>

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