Join three memoirists who have tackled difficult and taboo topics – ranging from grief and trauma to the challenges of motherhood and alcoholism – and found beauty, humour and even redemption by telling it exactly like it is.

Lech Blaine’s Car Crash is a heart-wrenching and darkly comic story of perseverance in the face of unthinkable tragedy. Ashe Davenport’s Sad Mum Lady is a savagely amusing memoir of motherhood and depression. Comedian Fiona O’Loughlin’s Truths from an Unreliable Witness chronicles a secret addiction to alcohol with gallows humour.

The trio join interviewer and moderator Michaela Kalowski for a deeply moving yet humorous conversation about making monsters dance and muffling their voices between the pages of a book.

Please note, this episode contains discussion of sensitive topics such as suicidal thoughts and sexual assault.

This podcast was recorded live at the 2021 Sydney Writers' Festival and is available on all major podcast platforms.  

Ashe Davenport (Australian)

Ashe Davenport

Ashe Davenport is the author of Sad Mum Lady, a collection of personal essays about early parenthood, postnatal depression and finding a dead rat in the cubbyhouse. Ashe grew up in Melbourne. She was awarded a scholarship to a private school then got expelled for being “a bad influence” (read: bright, troubled and devastatingly attractive). Ashe is currently working on a collection of short stories and hasn’t been suicidal for ages.

Fiona O’Loughlin (Australian)

Fiona O’Loughlin

Fiona O'Loughlin is Australian comedy royalty with an award-winning career spanning almost 20 years. Fiona performs to packed houses across the globe, from headlining the world-renowned Improv Comedy Club in LA to repeat seasons in Hong Kong, and performing at Edinburgh Fringe, Montreal's Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, the UK's Leicester Comedy Festival, Adelaide Fringe and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. As well as a critically acclaimed stand-up comedian, Fiona is an accomplished author, having published Me of the Never Never in 2011 and Truths From an Unreliable Witness in 2020.

Lech Blaine (Australian)

Lech Blaine

Lech Blaine is a writer from country Queensland. His work has been published in a range of places including The Best Australian Essays, Kill Your Darlings, the Griffith Review, The Guardian and The Monthly. Lech’s first book Car Crash: A Memoir is about friendship, family, grief and love. His childhood was featured in an episode of ABC RN’s Conversations with Richard Fidler about the foster care system.

Michaela Kalowski (Australian)

Michaela Kalowski

Michaela Kalowski is an interviewer and moderator for writers and ideas festivals. She's interviewed writers and thinkers from the worlds of arts, science and politics. Highlight interviews include Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, Trent Dalton, Amos Oz, Column McCann, Stan Grant, Robyn Davidson, Holly Ringland, Etgar Keret, Charlotte Wood and Laura Marling. She has conducted radio interviews for ABC Radio National's The Music Show, Big Ideas and The Bookshelf, ABC Classic and has presented programs on ABC Radio National and Local Radio.