Ep 63 How not to write a memoir with author Bronwyn Birdsall

After contracting glandular fever as a child (aka mono), Bronwyn Birdsall ended up with such bad chronic fatigue, she missed six months of school. This was at a time when there was still significant stigma surrounding the illness.

Bronwyn grew up in Sydney. At age 24, she moved to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and worked as an English teacher. The four years she spent there provided the inspiration for her first novel, 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.

In episode 63 of James and Ashley Stay at Home, a podcast about writing, creativity and health, Bronwyn joins us to discuss her life after chronic fatigue syndrome and the writing of Time and Tide in Sarajevo, which started not as a novel, but as a memoir.

Bronwyn worked on the memoir for years before one day suddenly finding herself writing fiction. he describes how the story opened up from there.

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?

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 Dreamer by Thomas Ligotti
– A Kind of Magic by Anna Spargo-Ryan
– The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis 
– The Whispering by Veronica Lando 

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.