How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

By howtofail

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Subscribers: 887
Reviews: 2

Sarah
 Aug 3, 2019
Elizabeth is a phenomenal interviewer and her guests have the most incredible capacity for honesty and conversation. Listening in on their chats is the greatest privilege and comfort. It will make you feel more at ease with yourself and more understanding of others. It will also make you laugh, cry and think. Thanks Elizabeth

James
 Feb 27, 2019
Elizabeth asks all the questions I want to ask I'm not screaming at the phone wondering why they're not being asked

Description

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. Every week, a new interviewee explores what their failures taught them about how to succeed better.

Episode Date
S6, Ep 8 How to Fail: Jane Garvey
01:00:54

*SEASON FINALE KLAXON* I mean...where does the time go? A minute ago it was summer and now here I am posting the final episode of Season Six and it's a mere 24 shopping days left until Christmas. Sheesh. 

But what a pleasure I have in store for you! She comes in the form of the ICONIC Jane Garvey: broadcaster extraordinaire, host of Radio 4's Woman's Hour and one-half of the brilliant podcasting duo, Fortunately...with Fi and Jane. I couldn't have asked for a better guest to bring this season to a close. (Well, I suppose I could have asked, but the point is, no-one would have been able to fulfil that request).

Jane so engaged with the premise of How To Fail that she sent not three but seven failures over email, saying she was 'struggling to narrow it down' and that it was up to me to choose which ones we talked about. We talk about her failure to listen, her tendency never to be seen to be trying too hard in case she doesn't succeed and her failure to appreciate fully what women were really up against in terms of equal pay at the BBC, partly because of what she sees as her own internalised misogyny and self-acknowledged white privilege. Most poignantly, Jane talks about her three miscarriages, and the long-felt emotional impact of each one. As anyone who has ever been through it will know, having a miscarriage is a specific form of grief that is difficult to describe but Jane articulates her feelings so beautifully that I know her story will be a great help to many of us.

'All sounds a but whiny,' she signed off her email, 'but I’m actually a laugh when I try!!'
 
You are indeed Jane. You're HILARIOUS. But you're also someone who isn't afraid to go deep and we're so grateful for it.
 
I'll be taking a little break now but will be back in January with eight more fabulous guests. I'm deeply appreciative of everyone who has listened, downloaded, rated, reviewed and subscribed. You make me very happy (and, on a practical note, you also make it more financially feasible for me to carry on doing this so YAY for that). Until next year: thank you and keep failing better!
 

Looking for a Christmas present? THEN LOOK NO FURTHER THAN MY MEMOIR, the Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong which is available here.

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You can listen to Fortunately...with Fi and Jane here

This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Jane Garvey @janegarvey1

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
Nov 20, 2019
S6, BONUS EPISODE! How to Fail: Lemn Sissay
50:10

For this extra-special bonus episode, I'm delighted to welcome Lemn Sissay to the podcast. Lemn is a poet, author and broadcaster whose memoir, My Name Is Why, is one of the most moving I have ever read. In it, he writes about his childhood - the son of Ethiopian parents who was wrongly given up for adoption as a baby and fostered by a white, working-class family in Lancashire. At the age of 12, he was told by his adoptive family that they would be putting him in a children's home and would never contact him again. He spent the next five years in a succession of brutal institutions during which he had a mental breakdown. In these dark times, the light of his poetry began to form.

It is astonishing, then, that Lemn is such a gloriously expansive interviewee. You know when people talk about good energy? Lemn has good energy by the bucketload. There is not a trace of bitterness in his demeanour, in spite of what he has been through, and he's unafraid to be vulnerable and honest, even though his early life was a succession of betrayals.

He joins me to talk about his failure to belong to the family he spent his life searching for, his failure to marry or have children (Lemn is the first male guest to have chosen this as a failure, which in itself is pretty fascinating), why he gave up drinking and his failure to be the poet he wishes he could be. Along the way, we talk about the power of human resilience and what family really means. Oh, and his dislike of cauliflower.

This is a deeply inspiring and humbling interview. You might want to have the tissues ready.

 

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The How To Fail Live tour is almost over. SNIFF! There are limited tickets left for Belfast with Sinead Burke (14th November) and Gateshead (8th December). Dublin with Amy Huberman (15th November) has SOLD OUT! Thank you! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

 

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay is out now, published by Canongate, and available to order here

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This BONUS SPECIAL episode of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is sponsored by Sceptre, publishers of The Scriptures by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. This is the complete Fleabag. Every word. Every side-eye. Every fox. Out now. Available from Waterstones, online, and all good bookshops.

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Lemn Sissay @lemnsissay

Sceptre Books @sceptrebooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 12, 2019
S6, Ep7 How to Fail: Fearne Cotton
55:53

Fearne Cotton blazed the trail for podcasts like mine. When she launched Happy Place in March 2018, it went straight to the top of the iTunes chart and has seemingly stayed there ever since. It has done so much to bring discussions about mental health into the mainstream, partly because Fearne has also been honest about her own experiences with panic attacks and anxiety.

So when I started How To Fail in July 2018, I always knew Fearne would be top of my list of dream guests. A few months later, we ended up sitting next to each other at the British Podcast Awards (spoiler alert: neither of us won but embarrassingly, we both presented awards to other winners) and having a good old natter, and then I was sent to interview her for a magazine and we got on so well that we hatched the idea of doing each other's podcasts now HERE WE ARE.

What makes Fearne so special is not just her impressive broadcasting career as a TV and radio presenter, or her bestselling books or the fact that she turned Happy Place into a full-blown festival, complete with yoga workshops and inspiring talks. No, it's that she is unafraid to be honest. She believes, as I do, that true strength comes from true vulnerability, and it's these qualities that make her a phenomenal guest.

Fearne joins me to talk about failing most of her GCSEs, a failed engagement and, in one of the most powerful passages of any interview I've ever had the privilege of doing, about her failure to be herself in her 20s and how she lived with an eating disorder for years. This is the first time she has ever spoken about it, and I am so truly grateful that Fearne felt this was a safe enough space to bare her beautiful soul.

Thank you, Fearne. Your words and your courage will help a great many people.

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The How To Fail Live tour is almost over. SNIFF! There are limited tickets left for Belfast with Sinead Burke (14th November) and Gateshead with Jess Phillips MP (8th December). Dublin with Amy Huberman (15th November) has SOLD OUT! Thank you! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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You can listen to Fearne Cotton's Happy Place here

This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Fearne Cotton @fearnecotton

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 06, 2019
S6, Ep6 How to Fail: George Alagiah
46:57

For 15 years, George Alagiah has been a familiar face on our television screens as the presenter of the BBC's Six O'Clock News. Before that, he was one of the corporation's most respected foreign correspondents. Before that, he was born in what was then Ceylon, the only boy in a family of four sisters, and was sent to boarding school in England at the age of 12.

George joins me to talk about his self-perceived failures at fatherhood, the challenges of reporting from the front-line in times of humanitarian crisis, his nuanced relationship with racial identity and how he dealt with racist incidents in his youth. He also talks movingly about his bowel cancer diagnosis in 2014, which has seen him undergo over 40 rounds of chemotherapy and make his peace with death. What struck me most about George was his elegance: in person, but also in expression. He has no anger or bitterness or stored-up resentment, and this to me is the definition of a quiet sort of heroism.

(Obviously I also asked him about BBC equal pay and if he'd watched Anchorman.)

I loved this interview. It moved me and made me think. I hope it does the same to you.

 

*

The How To Fail Live tour is almost over. SNIFF! There are limited tickets left for Belfast with Sinead Burke (14th November) and Gateshead with Jess Phillips MP (8th December). Dublin with Amy Huberman (15th November) has SOLD OUT! Thank you! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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George Alagiah's novel, The Burning Land, is out now and available here.

This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

George Alagiah @BBCAlagiah

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 30, 2019
S6, Ep5 How to Fail: Shirlie Kemp
55:41

Today, I welcome Shirlie Kemp to the podcast. She was an 80s icon: a backing dancer for Wham! who ACTUALLY APPEARED IN THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR 'LAST CHRISTMAS', as well as being a best friend to George Michael until his untimely death in 2016 at the age of 53. She was also one-half of the pop duo Pepsi & Shirlie and the wife of Martin Kemp, of Spandau Ballet fame (fun fact: their son, Roman, is the Capital Radio DJ).

Shirlie joins me to talk about what went on behind the scenes of fame and her memories of George, including the last conversation they ever had. She talks about her challenging council estate upbringing, feeling a failure at school and developing an eating disorder in her teens. We also discuss her long journey to self-confidence as a woman and how she and Martin coped with his brain tumour diagnosis in 1995, and what got them through those tough times as a couple. And we touch on the mean photography teacher whose criticism she will NEVER FORGET (but more fool him, because now she's an amazing photographer so there).

Thank you for coming on How To Fail, Shirlie: you are truly the loveliest woman.

  

*

The How To Fail Live tour has now started! I will be at various venues around the UK and Ireland over the next two months, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. Limited tickets left! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*

Shirlie and Martin Kemp are releasing a joint album, In The Swing of It, next month. You can pre-order it here.

This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Shirlie Kemp @shirliekemp

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 23, 2019
S6, Ep4 How to Fail: Lisa Taddeo
48:11

Lisa Taddeo is a phenomenon. Although she is too humble to recognise that description of herself. But this is a journalist and author who spent eight years - EIGHT YEARS - of her life travelling the United States and embedding herself in the lives of three 'ordinary' women in order to report back on that hitherto unexplored topic: female desire as it really is. Not as pornographic exploitation or rom-com fantasy viewed through the male gaze, but as women truly experience love and loss and expectation and sex and marriage and crushes and abuse and threesomes and motherhood and daughterhood and sisterhood and all the liminal spaces in between.

The resulting work of narrative non-fiction, Three Women, caused a sensation on its publication earlier this year. It shot simultaneously to the top of the bestseller lists in both the UK and America. Elizabeth Gilbert called it 'the best book of the year'. Dave Eggers said it was 'scorchingly original'. When I read it, I was blown away: I had never experienced a book quite like it. It turned out I had been desperately thirsty for these female stories to be shared, and Three Women was like a long, cool glass of water.

I'm so thrilled to welcome Lisa as a guest on How To Fail. Meeting her was like falling in platonic love. She speaks so openly about crippling anxiety, losing both her parents in her 20s, quitting university for a boy and professional rejection, that I'm pretty sure you won't be able to help falling in love with her too.

Along the way, we also discuss female desire and repression, the practicalities of writing Three Women, and her relationship with the women she wrote about.

Thank you Lisa, for your work, your empathy and your humanity.

 

Oct 16, 2019
S6, Ep3 How to Fail: Cush Jumbo
55:29

If you're a fan of The Good Wife or The Good Fight (and if not, why not?) you will know Cush Jumbo as Lucca Quinn, the whip-smart, ambitious lawyer who speaks with a flawless American accent. But Cush was actually born in South London, the daughter of a British mother and a Nigerian father and the second of six children. She took dance classes from the age of three, and went on to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama. An award-winning stage actress who wrote and starred in her own highly-acclaimed one-woman show, Josephine and I, she is returning to the theatre next year to play Hamlet at the Young Vic.

Way back in the mists of time (well, ok, 2012), I interviewed Cush for the Observer. I was struck then by how impressive she was, as well as being nice and funny. We stayed in touch over the years as I proudly watched her ascent from afar, and now I'm delighted to get the chance to interview her again because she is unafraid to talk honestly and beautifully about her most vulnerable moments.

She joins me to talk about her fears of letting her family down, the self-perceived failure to 'have it all' as a working mother, plus the rejection and sense of terrible failure she felt as an actress starting out and the spiral of depression that ensued, during which she thought 'obsessively' about suicide, before seeking medical help (and getting a dog). Thank you Cush, for being fearless in your honesty and generous with your talent. Also thank you for bringing me delicious cakes from Gail's when we recorded. You really are a gem.

ALSO, TODAY SHE COLLECTS HER O.B.E. It's almost as if I'd planned the timing (I hadn't).

I hope you enjoy listening, and if you do, I'd love it if you felt moved to rate, review and subscribe.

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The How To Fail Live tour has now started! I will be at various venues around the UK and Ireland over the next two months, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. Limited tickets left! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*

This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Cush Jumbo @cushjumbo 

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

 

 

 

Oct 09, 2019
S6, Ep2 How to Fail: Alain De Botton
54:20

This week on How To Fail, we are doing something slightly different. I know, I know, we don't like change, but sometimes IT'S GOOD FOR US. It's especially good for us when it comes in the form of Alain de Botton, one of the most intelligent, eloquent and thoughtful people on the planet.

And because it's Alain de Botton, modern philosopher, founder of The School of Life and bestselling authors of life-changing books such as Essays In Love, I decided to allow him a little leeway. Instead of choosing personal failures, Alain wanted to talk about three philosophical 'failure concepts' and I'm so glad he did, because it led to one of the most fascinating and enlightening discussions I've ever had on the topic.

We discuss the idea that we can be good people and yet fail, and the concept (which I'm forever banging on about) that failure is the norm, and that we should find contentment in the average rather than constantly expecting the exceptional. He also has brilliant insights into why romantic break-ups are not, in and of themselves, tragic, because each relationship teaches you something you need to know, and when the time is right, it is ok to move on. Along the way, I also ask him about X Factor, so fear not, I'm there to pepper his brilliance with my usual lowbrow content, as per.

It was such a delight to meet Alain. An hour in his company left my brain fizzing with new (and reassuring) ideas, and I hope it has the same effect on you.

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The new book from The School of Life, co-authored and introduced by Alain de Botton, is out now and available to buy here

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I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*

This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Alain de Botton @alaindebotton

 

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 02, 2019
S6, Ep1 How to Fail: Camilla Thurlow
57:10

We're back! Did you miss us? Go on...say you did. I'm really very, very needy.

It's such a treat for me to be opening season six with a truly fantastic guest: Camilla Thurlow. Camilla was always one of the most genuine and impressive contestants on ITV2's hit reality show, Love Island. A former bomb disposal expert who worked in life and death situations in Cambodia and Afghanistan, she came second in the 2017 series. Instead of launching a clothing line or advertising detox tummy teas, Camilla went on to use her new-found public platform to talk about issues close to her heart: namely, the immigration crisis and mental health. Her first trip after Love Island was to a refugee camp with the contestant she coupled up with, Jamie Jewitt (oh, and by the way, they are still together).

Set aside any preconceptions you might have about reality TV and listen to the wisdom this extraordinary woman imparts about love, loss and human connection. We talk about her periods of extreme anxiety and panic as she was forced to confront who she really was rather than the Camilla she was trying to be. We talk about the challenges of public expectation and the fear of not living up to other people's idea of her. We talk about social media, turning 30 and her ingrained fear of making a fool of herself. We also talk about a near-fatal car accident and the unexpected lessons it taught her.

I am so grateful to Camilla for opening up to me and for showing that strength comes through an acknowledgement of - and respect for - vulnerability. I know that you will find so much to relate to in what she says.

Thank you for listening. It's great to be back.

*

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*

This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Camilla Thurlow @camillathurlow

 

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

 

 

 

Sep 25, 2019
S5 BONUS EPISODE! How to Fail: Philippa Perry and Sadie Jones
43:53

A live recording of a one-off How To Fail With Elizabeth Day special with authors Philippa Perry (The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read) and Sadie Jones (The Snakes) about How To Fail...At Families.

Recorded in front of a live audience at Foyle's bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London.

This episode is sponsored by Penguin Life, which publishes books by experts who share a passion for living well.

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Philippa Perry's The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read is available to order here.

Sadie Jones's The Snakes is available to order here.

*

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*

This bonus episode of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day was hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Penguin Life. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Sadie Jones @thatsadiejones

Philippa Perry @philippa_perry

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

 

Aug 21, 2019
S5, Ep8 How to Fail: Jess Phillips
45:46

Well, old friend, here we are again. The end of another season. Where does the time go?

I saved this guest for the finale because she's bloody spectacular. Jess Phillips is the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, a campaigner on women's rights, an outspoken critic of Brexit, anti-semitism and the politics of the hard-left, and the author of an acclaimed book, Everywoman: One Woman's Truth About Speaking The Truth.

She joins me to talk about coping with failure in politics, living with daily death threats and how she stays sane by prioritising her female friends. She talks about the failure in contraception (!) that resulted in her eldest son, her failure to get on the Home Office Fast Track scheme and, in an extremely moving admission, her self-perceived failure to fix her brother's drug addiction.

This makes it sound pretty heavy, but Jess is so naturally funny and such a self-deprecating force of nature, that I promise you this interview will leave you feeling energised and quite possibly punching the air.

That's it for season five (apart from one bonus live record COMING SOON. Make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss out). I'll be back in the autumn with eight brilliant new guests.

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A THANK YOU FROM ME:

Thank you so much for subscribing and rating and reviewing and for all your lovely messages over this season and all the others. It really does mean the world to me. Truly. And if you don't like me / this podcast / actually took time out of your day to leave a one-star review / worry that my guests all went to Oxbridge (they didn't) / are too middle-class (they aren't) / think I'm too gushing (well...ok, maybe you have a point there, but I genuinely mean it when I say someone's amazing...) then please know that however angry or sad or lonely or un-heard you feel, I send you nothing but love in return. Bet that winds you up, doesn't it?

To the rest of you: I feel so blessed for your companionship on this crazy, beautiful journey. You have helped me make sense of things. You have met me in a place of vulnerability and made me feel so much stronger. You have shown me that love, compassion and kindness is strength. You have taught me what I always suspected: that failure does not have to be an end point, but can instead be a stepping stone on a journey towards greater understanding. Thank you.

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Jess Phillips's new book, Truth to Power, is out in October and available to pre-order here.

*

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Jess Phillips @jessphillips

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 14, 2019
S5, Ep7 How to Fail: Meera Syal
46:36

This week, I welcome the multi-talented Meera Syal to the podcast: actor, comedian, playwright, novelist, producer and, most notably, sister-of-my-friend-Rajeev. Meera first came to prominence when she co-wrote and starred in the award-winning BBC comedy series Goodness Gracious Me and was Bafta-nominated for her later role in The Kumars at Number 42. She, along with her husband Sanjeev Bhaskar, almost single-handedly reinvented British-Asian comedy, taking it from the stereotypical and lazy racist tropes of old and bringing it brilliantly into the mainstream (I mean, who can forget the hilarious 'Going for an English' sketch? If you haven't seen it, YouTube it now).

Meera joins me to talk about failing at maths (and having a bigoted teacher), failing to live up to her parents' expectations of her, failing at auditions (and hating them), failing to raise her second child how she wanted and instead getting obsessed with a rigid regime rather than following her own maternal instincts. Along the way, we discuss ageing, race, school, womanhood, ice-cream vans and embarrassing smear tests. Yes, really.

*

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Meera Syal @meerasyal

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

 

Aug 07, 2019
S5, Ep6 How to Fail: Samin Nosrat
53:43

Oh, Samin Nosrat! Where do I start? With her ebullient personality and wildly infectious laugh? With her four-part Netflix show, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat where she travels the world eating freshly baked focaccia and Japanese seaweed? Or with the award-winning, bestselling cookbook of the same name, that revolutionised the way we thought about food?

I don't know where to start. So let me just tell you that she is one of the bubbliest, most open and generous interviewees I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. She joins me to talks about growing up in San Diego, the child of Iranian parents, who was 'the only brown kid' in her school, and what this sense of outsidership taught her. She talks about overnight fame, and the weirdness that comes with that, as well as failing to write, what happens when your business fails and the one memorable time she burned the sauce for a dinner she was cooking for Hillary Clinton. Oh, and the story of how she got the description of osmosis wrong in the science part of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and was berated by critics. Also the way she talks about cassoulet will probably leave you feeling very hungry.

Thank you so much Samin for coming on my podcast!

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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat is published by Canongate and is available to order here

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I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Samin Nosrat @ciaosamin

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 31, 2019
S5, Ep5 How to Fail: Dame Kelly Holmes
46:19

I'm so delighted to welcome my first ever OLYMPIC ATHLETE onto the podcast this week. And not just any Olympic athlete, but double-gold medal winner, Kelly Holmes, who also just so happens to be my first DAME on How To Fail too.

Dame Kelly joins me to talk about how her single mother was pressurised to give Kelly up for adoption as a baby and how she refused to do so, teaching her daughter about what it is to be truly strong. We also discuss Kelly's 'failure' at school and how she joined the army at 16 but then failed her first Physical Training Instructor selection (I mean, who would fail Kelly Holmes? Come on, now. Have you seen the size of her biceps?) She also talks openly about coming second in the 1995 World Championships because of her spiralling anxiety and discusses her ongoing mental health issues, including her diagnosis with clinical depression, her grief over her mother's death and [TW] her experiences of self-harm.

For me, Dame Kelly epitomises the kind of empowerment that comes from being open about your own vulnerabilities. Her strength is forged through her resilience. As she puts it: 'You train for the outcome.' I know I use the word a lot in the context of this podcast, but Dame Kelly truly is inspiring in the most profound ways.

[Trigger warning: this episode contains descriptions of self-harm]

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Kelly Holmes @damekellyholmes

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

 

Jul 24, 2019
S5, Ep4 How to Fail: Francesca Segal
47:40

This week, my guest is the writer Francesca Segal whose recently published memoir, Mother Ship, details the birth of her twin daughters 10 weeks prematurely. Her first failure is, in Segal's own words, her failure 'to stay pregnant' and the feeling of shame that came from not having managed to provide the requisite 40-week gestation period. 'I felt I had failed at my first ever task of motherhood,' she explains. 'That my body could not be a safe space for them felt a spectacular failure.'

She and her husband, Gabriel, were pitched into a nightmarish situation where they did not know whether their baby girls would survive. When they were born they weighed only 2lbs each. The girls could not do anything on their own and they suffered harrowing, life-threatening infections. Segal joins me to discuss what happened next.

Even if you are not one of the 100,000 women in the UK who, every year, give birth to premature babies and even if, like me, you are not a parent at all, I promise that you will find Segal's insightful eloquence both enlightening and moving.

We also talk about her failure to be a rebellious teenager, her conflicted attitude to social media and how, as a writer, she deals with the eternal nagging of her fractious internal critic. Listen, be moved and then order her wonderful book via the link below.

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Francesca Segal's memoir, Mother Ship, is out now and available to order here 

*

If you were affected by any of the issues raised in this podcast, help is available via Bliss, the charity for babies born premature or sick.

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Francesca Segal @francescasegal

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 17, 2019
S5, Ep3 How to Fail: Emeli Sandé
44:23

This week, I chat to the chart-topping singer Emeli Sandé about life, love, fame...and all the nitty gritty bits in between. Emeli has sold over 19 million singles, won four Brit Awards and is about to return after a three-year break with her hotly anticipated third album, Real Life. Her rise to fame was rapid and overwhelming. Celebrity, she says, took some time to get used to.

She joins me to talk about her body image and the long journey to self-acceptance in an industry that frequently made her feel like she was never 'enough'. She talks about letting go of the need to be perfect, and embracing failure. Plus we discuss her visit to Zambia to reconnect with her family there, and what impact that had on her. Emeli also opens up for the first time about the breakdown of her marriage, to a man she had been with from the age of 17, and the feeling of shame she had about admitting she was getting divorced before being forced to confront herself as she really was.

Emeli speaks as powerfully as she sings: like an old soul channeling all sorts of wisdom. I'm so grateful she came onto the podcast and I hope you get as much from it as I did. Thank you Emeli!

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Emeli Sandé's forthcoming album, Real Life, is out in September and is available to pre-order here

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Emeli Sande @emelisande

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

 

 

Jul 10, 2019
S5, Ep2 How To Fail: FLEABAG IS BACK
57:36

Yes. That's right. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is back.

One year on from her debut appearance on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, my first ever guest returns to talk about the craziness of her last 12 months, during which she has written and starred in Fleabag 2 (described as a televisual masterpiece by...well...almost everyone), made Killing Eve (described as a televisual masterpiece by...well...almost everyone) and been brought in by the James Bond producers to work her magic on the franchise.

It's a year that, from the outside, has seemed to many of us to be the epitome of success. But what failures lie underneath the surface? What about those private moments of vulnerability and self-doubt we are so rarely privy to?

Phoebe joins me to talk about three failures from the past year, including her failure to connect with her family, her failure to speak up for herself and her failure to Marie Kondo her bedroom. Along the way, we discuss what makes the perfect water bottle, filming THAT final scene in Fleabag (apparently the foxes were total divas), sexuality, exhaustion and why female creators are often unfairly assumed to be writing autobiography. And yes, the Meryl Streep apple crumble anecdote makes an appearance.

Thank you, Phoebe, for coming back onto the podcast and being such a generous and wonderful friend.

If you haven't already listened to her first episode, you can do so here

 

***SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT KLAXON***

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are *not* recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

 

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

Jul 03, 2019
S5, Ep1 How to Fail: Nigel Slater
53:27

We’re BAAACK! As House of Pain once rapped in their immortal hit Jump Around, ‘Just like the Prodigal Son I’ve returned’. Yes, here we are for Season 5 of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day: eight sparkling new episodes featuring eight marvellous guests.

And for our opening episode, I could not be happier to welcome the legendary Nigel Slater to the podcast. The bestselling and beloved cookery writer, whose books have adorned every kitchen worth its (Maldon) salt for decades, joins me to talk about his failure to be a proper chef, his fear that he let his father down and his failure to be a good friend. We also talk about sexuality, children, neatness, ceramics and whether or not he believes in an afterlife. Nigel was an utter joy from beginning to end and arrived in my flat for the recording bearing a bunch of flowers he had picked from his garden and a packet of green tea so delicious I promptly devoured it and had to order a massive packet of it online.

Thank you Nigel, for being so lovely. I hope you all enjoy the episode as much as I enjoyed doing the interview - and if you do, I’d be so grateful for any ratings or reviews you’d like to give us.

 

***SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT KLAXON***

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

 

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

 

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

 

Nigel Slater’s latest (wonderful) book, Greenfeast, is published in two volumes. Spring / Summer is out now and available to order here. Autumn / Winter is out later this year and available to pre-order here.

 

 

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Nigel Slater @nigelslater

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

 

Jun 26, 2019
S4, Ep8 How to Fail: Jamie Laing
56:28

'And now, the end is near / And so I face the final curtain...'

Yes, it's the SEASON FINALE! I know, I know: it's gone so fast hasn't it? What's that they say about time flying when you're having fun calling your brain Becky? (That's a podcast in-joke, peeps, don't panic if you're a new subscriber and you haven't got a clue what I'm on about, but do check out my episode with Mo Gawdat, S4, Ep4).

Anyway, don't be too sad because I have one solid-gold, cast-iron, brilliant guest for you to usher out this season. Step forward, Jamie Laing. Some of you might know him from E4's structured reality show, Made In Chelsea. Some of you might not watch reality television and believe it to be ushering in the end of days. But I implore you, even if you have no interest in the show and even if you've got preconceptions of who Jamie is, to give this episode a listen. He is such an sincere, funny, generous and self-aware person and so willing to talk openly about the times in his life when things didn't go according to plan that I truly think you will get a lot from it.

Jamie joins me to talk about he impact of parental divorce, panic attacks, anxiety, sporting injury and what happens when your idea of your entire future seems to collapse. We also talk about why he's never managed to have a lasting long-term relationship. Along the way, he quotes life lessons learned from Socrates, William Blake and, that seminal 21st century philosopher, Lucy Watson.

I hope you enjoy the final episode in this season. Thank you for all your incredible support. We'll be back in July with eight new fantastic guests for season five. In the meantime, if you felt like rating, reviewing and subscribing, I'd be eternally grateful.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

You can buy Jamie's delicious all-vegan Candy Kittens sweets here and you can listen to his and Frances Boulle's podcast, Private Parts, here.

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Jamie Laing @jamielaing_UK

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

May 22, 2019
S4, Ep7 How to Fail: Nesrine Malik
44:21

This week on the podcast, I'm delighted to welcome the brilliant Nesrine Malik, a British-Sudanese writer and newspaper columnist who has recently been longlisted for the prestigious Orwell Prize and whose forthcoming book, We Need New Stories, is a riveting assault on our tired old ideologies. (She's also really funny, by the way.)

Nesrine joins me to talk about the not-so-terrible-yet-somehow-devastating shame of not getting the A-grade she was predicted in her GCSE English (a failure so personal, she has never told anyone about it), why she's never grown out of 'mommy and daddy issues' and why she finds it difficult to put down roots anywhere. Along the way, we talk about the shock of sudden death, going to school against the backdrop of a military coup and when it's obvious someone has cooked Ottolenghi.

I adore this woman and I know that after 45 minutes in her intelligent, inquiring company, you will too.

 

We Need New Stories by Nesrine Malik is available to pre-order here

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Nesrine Malik @nesrinemalik

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

May 15, 2019
S4, Ep6 How to Fail: Andy McNab
45:11

You could say that my guest this week became famous because of failure. Andy McNab led the Bravo Two Zero SAS mission during the first Gulf War but his team was compromised soon after they were dropped into Iraq in 1991. This was the most horrific kind of failure. It resulted in the deaths of three of the squad, a cat-and-mouse chase across the desert and McNab's eventual capture. He withstood six weeks of torture and imprisonment, later turning his harrowing experiences into the bestselling book, Bravo Two Zero. He was also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his courage behind enemy lines. In 2017, he was awarded a CBE.

But this SAS hero did not have the most auspicious start in life: abandoned as a baby in a carrier bag on the steps of a London hospital, he was brought up by adoptive parents on a Peckham council estate and dropped out of school as a teenager, barely able to read or write. He fell into a life of petty crime. After an arrest for burglary at the age of 16 he decided to turn his life around, and joined the British Army.

Andy joins me to talk about the failure of that Bravo Two Zero mission, about what the SAS taught him about how to fail, about how someone who struggled with literacy managed to make a career as a bestselling author, about why he's been married so many times (four, since you ask) and about how he's now found lasting happiness with his wife Jenny (partly to do with a laminated strip in his wallet...listen to find out more). Oh, and he tells me he's a certified psychopath, but not - apparently - one of the bad ones. So that's a podcast first.

 

Andy McNab's books are available to buy here

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

 

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Andy McNab @the_real_mcnab

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 08, 2019
S4, Ep5 How to Fail: Charly Cox
49:46

I have my FIRST POET on the podcast this week - and my, what a poet. Charly Cox is not only a beautiful soul but a beautiful chronicler of what it is to be human. Her first collection, She Must Be Mad, became the bestselling poetry debut of 2018 and Cox was named by Elle magazine as one of their 20 ‘power players’ of the year.

Although still only 23, she's accumulated an astonishing store of wisdom and I was so, so happy to have her on the podcast because what Charly has to say is deeply important for anyone struggling with how to value themselves for who and what they are rather than how they aspire to be perceived. She's been dubbed an Instagram poet for the millennial generation, but I think her work has relevance for all ages.

We spoke about anxiety, depression and her diagnosis with PTSD and Bipolar II disorder. We also discussed dropping out of school and failing to find lasting romantic love (and her fear that she is ultimately unloveable. AS IF, CHARLY). And we chat about a career failure that left her on a hotel bathroom floor in the grip of a panic attack at which point she remembers thinking: 'I will never work again. I can't believe it's taken this long for everyone to finally see I'm an imposter. I can't do this.' 

One of my favourite things about Charly is that she made me realise that the personal can be universal - that by being open about our vulnerabilities, the things we feel most shame about, we not only diminish the shame, but we connect with others who experience exactly the same emotions. And that, my friends, is what creates SOLIDARITY as a force for meaningful change.

 

Charly Cox's bestselling She Must Be Mad is available to buy here

Her brilliant new collection, Validate Me, is out in October and available to pre-order here 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

*IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON* 

I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with ZAWE ASHTON (who is amazing). There are still some tickets available here. This is NOT being recorded, so the only way to be part of it is to be there or...erm...be square?

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Charly Cox @charlycox1

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

 

May 01, 2019
S4, Ep4 How to Fail: Mo Gawdat
01:00:04

Just occasionally in life, you meet someone who changes your way of thinking about the world. The shift might be subtle or it might be seismic, but afterwards, you are never quite the same again.

This is what happened to me when my path crossed with that of Mo Gawdat who spoke to me about what it is to live a contented life in a way that had an immediate and practical impact on my outlook. Gawdat is the former chief business officer at Google X (Google's so-called 'moonshot factory' responsible for off-the-wall ideas such as self-driving cars and a balloon-powered internet) but for a long time in his life, despite having professional, personal and material success, he realised he wasn't happy. So he set about solving this problem by applying his scientific research skills to the issue: how can one individual be happy?

After 12 years, he developed an algorithm for happiness, eventually arriving at an equation which states simply that happiness is greater than, or equal to, your perception of the events in your life minus your expectation of how life should be. He even wrote a book about it, Solve For Happy, which became an international bestseller.

Gawdat joins me to talk about how that algorithm was put to the ultimate test when his beloved 21-year-old son Ali died in tragic circumstances. We talk about how to survive depression and grief; how happiness is like fitness; how to cope with break-ups; why social media is driving us further apart and what to do about it; why life is like a computer game; the illusion of time and why we should always, always be polite to Siri.

This episode is slightly longer than normal just because I didn't want to cut any of it. I hope you take as much from Mo's words as I have.

 

Solve For Happy: Engineer Your Path To Joy by Mo Gawdat is available to order here.

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out nowand is available to pre-order here.

*IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON* 

I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with ZAWE ASHTON (who is amazing). There are still some tickets available here. 

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

Apr 24, 2019
S4, Ep3 How to Fail: Tracey Thorn
44:15

My guest this week is the fantastic Tracey Thorn, who I basically grew up listening to. She was one-half of Everything But The Girl, guest vocalist on Massive Attack's phenomenal Protection album and lately has launched her own solo career alongside writing three critically acclaimed memoirs, the latest of which, Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia has won rave plaudits from Julie Burchill, David Nicholls and Dolly Alderton, to name but a few.

Tracey joins me to talk about failing to get into the university of her choice (but meeting her husband as a consequence so...y'know...swings and roundabouts), being an utterly terrible driver, as well as living with stage fright and bouts of serious anxiety that have shaped much of her life. Our chat also takes in the jostle between career and motherhood (three kids, including twins), the difficulty of understanding our own parents, the experience of ageing as a woman and why she'd never, ever consider growing her hair long.

I'm so grateful to Tracey for being so warm and generous and to Teatulia in Covent Garden for lending us their beautiful tea-shop for the recording. Teatulia sells a wonderful range of teas, some of which you can buy online here, and also makes absurdly good tea-based cocktails. Do pay them a visit if you're ever in the area.

 

Tracey's Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling memoir, Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia, is out now published by Canongate and is available to order here

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out nowand is available to pre-order here.

*IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON* 

I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with ZAWE ASHTON (who is amazing). There are still some tickets available here. 

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Tracey Thorn @tracey_thorn

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

Apr 17, 2019
S4, Ep2 How to Fail: John Crace
46:06

My guest this week is John Crace, one of our foremost journalists and critics. Probably best known for his role at the Guardian as parliamentary sketch-writer (it was he who famously coined the term ‘Maybot’ to describe our besieged Prime Minister’s rather…um…mechanical response to crisis) and as the author of the brilliant Digested Read column, which takes the book of the moment and distils it into a hysterically funny parody.

John joins me to talk about being a heroin addict for 10 years. He describes the chaos and constant sense of failure that plagued him throughout his period of addiction with such candour and bravery that it moved me to tears halfway through the interview. There’s a school of thought that says interviewers shouldn’t show emotion, but I’m not sure this is always right.

John spoke about heroin, about how he failed to have ‘any sort of career until my mid-30s’, about living his life on the verge of a panic attack and sometimes struggling to get out of bed in the mornings, about his tricky relationship with his father and about how he finally managed to speak to his children about his past. And, for light relief, John also discusses supporting a football team ‘whose most notable achievement has been disappointment’ (it’s Spurs, by the way).

This is one of the most extraordinary interviews I’ve ever had the privilege of doing. Thank you, John, for your beautiful vulnerability. Listen and feel less alone.

 

You can read the article I mention John writing for the Guardian about heroin addiction here

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out nowand is available to pre-order here.

*IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON* 

I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with ZAWE ASHTON (who is amazing). There are still some tickets available here. 

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

John Crace @johnjcrace

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

Apr 10, 2019
S4, Ep1 How to Fail: Vicky McClure
45:48

We’re baaaaaack! And to celebrate our fourth season, please welcome the one, the only, VICKY MCCLURE.

You’re in for a treat with this one. Vicky is not only one of my favourite actresses but also one of my favourite people, as genuine as she is talented, and a total delight to interview. She’s probably most famous for her role as police officer Kate Fleming in Line of Duty, which kicked off again in spectacular style on Sunday night (did you watch the first episode? Could you follow what was going on with the UCO in the OCG who needed to get out ASAP? And what about that twist, eh?). Before that, McClure was Lol in Shane Meadows’s film and Channel 4 spin-off series, This Is England, a sinister maternity leave cover in The Replacement, a campaigning parent in Mother’s Day and a tabloid reporter in Broadchurch. Oh, and she’s won a Bafta, obvs.

McClure joins me to talk about failed auditions, failing to work hard enough at school, failed relationships, failure to be spontaneous and why she’s never going to be someone who posts her gym workouts (mainly because not going to the gym is one of her failures). Along the way, we discuss the pain of losing out on jobs (how dare you, Peaky Blinders) and how she fell in love with her fiance over the phone.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

*IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON*

The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is published TOMORROW and is available to pre-order here.

 

I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with a very special guest (to be announced). There are still some tickets available here. 

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Vicky McClure @vicky.mcclure

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

Apr 03, 2019
S3, Ep9 How to Fail: Haemin Sunim
38:34

Sniff. Sob. Wail and gnashing of teeth. Yes, it’s the SEASON THREE FINALE already - how did that happen? For our final episode in this series, I had the great privilege of talking to Haemin Sunim, one of the most influential Zen Buddhist teachers in the world.

He is a Korean ‘super-monk’ - so-called because he has over one million followers on Twitter and because his books have become instant global bestsellers. His latest, Love For Imperfect Things, is a guide to self-acceptance in which Haemin beautifully explores the idea that it is only by exercising compassion for our own vulnerabilities that we can pursue truly meaningful relationships with others. I read it in that fallow period between Christmas and New Year and it was a wonderful way to set my intentions for 2019. So much of what Haemin says chimes with the themes of this podcast, especially the concept that failure is a lesson, not a wholesale definition of self. ‘Life teaches us through errors,’ he writes. ‘When we accept the lesson from our mistake with humility and gratitude, we grow that much more.’

It was such an honour to meet Haemin, and to ask him more about his philosophy of failure. We discuss his self-perceived failure to be a good son, a failure of patience, romantic failures, break-ups and how resistance to a situation can often expend more energy than acceptance. He also manages to make me feel better about my repeated failures to meditate regularly. Apparently, just by observing my irritation at not being able to meditate, I AM ALREADY MEDITATING.

I really love this episode and I hope you will too.

We'll be back in April, but if you’re missing us terribly, don’t forget you can pre-order the book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day here.

It would be amazing if you felt able to rate, review and subscribe to the podcast. This helps things like chart position and is good for attracting sponsors, which means I’ll be able to afford to carry on doing it!

Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Your messages, your likes, your Tweets, your emails and your love continue to mean the absolute world to me.

I’ll see you in April.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

  

Love For Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim is published by Penguin Random House 

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Haemin Sunim @haeminsunim

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

Feb 27, 2019
S3 BONUS EPISODE How to Fail: Kristen Roupenian
49:42

Ahead of next week's season finale, I offer you, my wonderful listeners, a whole new BONUS EPISODE.

I know, I'm too good to you, I really am.

No, but honestly, thank you so much for your continued support - for all those lovely messages, ratings and reviews. I appreciate it so, so much. Here, by way of a thank you is the amazing Kristen Roupenian, author of the viral short story sensation Cat Person, and an all-round brilliant woman who has such interesting things to say about failure.

This episode was recorded earlier this month in front of a live audience at Foyle's Bookshop in London as part of Kristen's UK tour to promote her newly published collection of short stories, You Know You Want This which has ALREADY been optioned for adaptation by HBO.

In this episode, we talk about how Kristen dealt with her unexpected and overnight fame and what it's like to be confronted by the forceful opinions of strangers when all you've done is written a short story. We also talk about her failed attempt to re-home a dog (leading to lots of profound realisations), a serious relationship break-up and how she lost her way in her 20s, as well as why it's pointless to live your life in anticipation of 'a future you' that might never exist. 

 

You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian is published by Jonathan Cape. You can order it here

 

The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available to pre-order here.

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Kristen Roupenian @kroupenian

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 22, 2019
S3, Ep8 How to Fail: Pandora Sykes
51:56

This week I get to interview one of my favourite fellow podcasters: Pandora Sykes is a journalist,  co-host of The High Low and all-round woman of impeccable taste (I mean, she must be to have agreed to come on How To Fail, right?) 

Sykes is also a contributing editor at Man Repeller and Elle magazine and writes regularly for other publications. Her High Low co-host, Dolly Alderton, is a former How To Fail guest and - fun fact - Dolly's episode is the most downloaded OF ALL TIME.

I'm so happy Pandora agreed to come on the podcast and to talk eloquently and insightfully about not fitting in with friends at school, being fired from an internship in her 20s and 'failing to harness/ contain my brain after having a baby' even though, on the surface, her life seemed to be picture-perfect. Her words will carry so much resonance for so many of us and I loved doing this interview (partly because I got to nose around Pandora's beautiful house and to meet her mother who was as terrific as you'd expect and makes a mean sausage plait).

If you haven't listened to The High Low, hello who are you and what are you doing and please download it right now. It's a brilliant weekly take on high and low-brow news and culture.

 

You can order Pandora's essay, The Authentic Lie, via the crowd-funded publisher The Pound Project. (Full disclosure: I wrote the foreword).

 

The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available to pre-order here.

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Pandora Sykes @pinsykes

The High Low @thehighlowshow

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 20, 2019
S3, Ep7 How to Fail: Sharmaine Lovegrove
42:01

This week on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, my guest is the brilliant Sharmaine Lovegrove. Sharmaine is a champion of stories. As a publisher, she heads up her own imprint, Dialogue Books, at Little, Brown and has been instrumental in bringing more diverse voices into print.

But Sharmaine is also one of the most dynamic and inspiring women I've ever had the privilege of meeting. This is a woman who survived a challenging childhood and ended up living on the streets while studying for her A-Levels. This is a woman who, through sheer force of will, began selling second-hand books under the arches of Waterloo Bridge before rising through the ranks to head up her own publishing imprint. This is a woman who, despite the myriad obstacles she faced along the way, set up the first English language bookshop in Berlin and became literary editor of Elle magazine. This is a woman who says, quite candidly, that books saved her life. We talk about failure to be a child, failure to conform and failure to be a perfectionist (and I discover you can Deliveroo pizza to a park. MIND. BLOWN.)

You might not have heard of Sharmaine before this podcast episode, but after listening to her story, you will quite possibly become her biggest fan.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available to pre-order here.

 

Be sure to check out the forthcoming titles from Dialogue Books !

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Sharmaine Lovegrove: @sharlove

Dialogue Books @dialoguebooks

 Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

Feb 13, 2019
S3, Ep6 How to Fail: James O'Brien
44:20

Today's guest is quite possibly one of the most intimidating people to interview given his own reputation as a fearsome interrogator. But fine, I'll give it a go. James O'Brien is an LBC radio presenter who hosts a daily phone-in discussion show which attracts a million listeners a week. Clips of him dismantling the ignorance and prejudice of politicians, bigots and racists with his customary cool, hard logic have gone viral on more than one occasion.

His first book, How To Be Right In A World Gone Wrong shot into the Sunday Times top 10 bestseller list last year and tackles everything from Islam to feminism via Brexit and Donald Trump. It is a brilliant and entertaining read and in it, O'Brien is not afraid to admit when he has been wrong (an infrequent occurrence, admittedly).

He joins me to talk about failing at Physics GCSE, being adopted, going to a posh boarding school (and being expelled), how he got turned down by every single graduate traineeship on Fleet Street and ended up working as a tailor's assistant and selling Ronnie Wood a £15,000 Vicuna coat (true story). Along the way we also chat about the time Sean Connery hit him on the nose, his failure to record a CBeebies bedtime story and believing 'the angriest people are the ones who are most in need of help.'

 

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available to pre-order here.

 

How To Be Right In A World Gone Wrong by James O'Brien is published by WH Allen 

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

James O'Brien: @mrjamesob

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

Feb 06, 2019
S3, Ep 5 How to Fail: Raven Smith
43:40

This week my guest is Raven Smith who, as well as having one of the best names dot dot dot EVER is also the funniest man on Instagram (it's true, don't @ me). Smith is a columnist for British Vogue, a guest lecturer at Central Saint Martins and is currently working on his first book: Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits, a guide to modern life which covers everything from Ikea meatballs to Ant & Dec and which promises to be just as funny and irreverent as the man himself.

We talk about Smith's self-professed 'failure to be straight' at school and what it was like growing up the mixed race only child of a single mother in an English seaside town (he was REALLY TALL too). We also discuss his failure to graduate, the absence of his father in his life, and Smith's failure at marriage, even though he's not divorced. As Smith put it to me in an email before we recorded the interview: 'Marriage is a concoction of failures (and successes). I relentlessly fuck it up.' I think there's something rather beautiful and profound contained within that. Hopefully you'll think so too!

And don't worry - there's also plenty of laughs, from Smith's absurd competitiveness in yoga class to his terrible DIY skills which mean there's currently no door on his toilet.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available to pre-order here.

 

You can read Raven Smith's 'The Week in Review' Vogue columns here.

Raven Smith's Trivial Pursuits will be published by 4th Estate in 2020.

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Raven Smith @raven_smith

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

Jan 30, 2019
S3, Ep4 How to Fail: Deborah Frances-White
46:46

My guest this week is Deborah Frances-Whitean award-winning stand-up comedian, author and quite possibly the defining feminist of our generation. You'll probably know her from her hit podcast, The Guilty Feminist, or from her book of the same name and if you don't then WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING, WHERE?

Deborah joins me to talk about failure at improvisation, failure to be a biological mother and how to rebuild your life after leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses. Along the way, we discuss her adoption, the Syrian refugee who lives in her house and why learning to be joyful about miserable failure could actually be the key to long-term happiness. Deborah is such an impressive and clever woman and every time I hear her speak, I learn something unbelievably helpful and new. This occasion was no exception. My favourite bit is where we talk about dating as a data-gathering exercise. Enjoy!

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available to pre-order here.

 

The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-White is out now published by Virago.

 

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Deborah Frances-White @deborahFW

The Guilty Feminist @GuiltFemPod

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 23, 2019
S3; Ep3 How to Fail: Jonny Benjamin
43:30

Ok, so full disclosure: I cried during this interview. You will quite possibly cry too. You will quite possibly need a box of tissues next to you as you listen. And you will quite possibly leave feeling enlightened and uplifted by the magical, gorgeous man that is Jonny Benjamin, MBE.

Jonny is a mental health campaigner and someone with a truly extraordinary story to tell. In 2008, Jonny was 20 and standing on the edge of Waterloo Bridge about to jump. A passing stranger noticed his distress and stopped to talk to him. It was a momentary decision that saved Jonny’s life.

We talk about his journey to track that stranger down and about what Jonny has learned about himself along the way. We also talk about Jonny's diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and his experiences of living with 'The Truman delusion' (so-called because the person believes that their lives are staged reality shows being filmed on camera). We talk about mental health in the workplace and being open about our fallibilities. I am so grateful that Jonny also chose to talk about Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the realities of living with that when you're just trying to get on with life (it makes dating a bit of a nightmare and a lot of people don't really understand what it means). Along the way we chat about Amy Winehouse, feeling left behind in your 20s, the importance of self-compassion and why love isn't ever conditional on whether you succeed or not.

I hope you are moved as much as I was by this episode.

Also if anyone has any single gay men wanting a set-up with an incredibly handsome, funny and sensitive individual then feel free to DM us - details below ;)

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin is out now published by Pan Macmillan.

Beyond Shame, Beyond Stigma is a new mental health charity for young people co-founded by Jonny.

You can learn more about the WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) by visiting the Rethink website.

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this podcast, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit their website

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Jonny Benjamin @mrjonnybenjamin

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

  

 

Jan 16, 2019
S3, Ep2 How to Fail: Chris Patten
38:11

This week, my guest is the former politician Chris Patten. It's almost easier to list the high-powered offices of state he hasn't occupied than the ones he has. Patten was the 28th governor of Hong Kong, the former Chairman of the BBC, the current Chancellor of Oxford University. For 13 years, he was the Conservative MP for Bath before losing his seat in the 1992 election - one of the incidences of failure he discusses on this episode. 

At 74, Patten has published seven books, gained a peerage, fathered three children and has eight grandchildren. You might not think he knows much about failure, but in this revealing and unexpectedly moving interview, he talks about what it's like to lose a seat and have your life changed overnight, as well as how he coped with the aftermath of his tenure at the BBC (where he presided over the Jimmy Savile scandal). We also discuss his faith, his love for his wife (and his wish that he had married her earlier), his natural inclination towards gloominess (and what he does to 'snap out of it') and his, as yet futile, search for the perfect breakfast muesli.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

First Confession: A Sort of Memoir by Chris Patten is out now, published by Allen Lane.

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 09, 2019
S3, Ep1 How to Fail: Lily Allen
40:30

Haaaappy New Year! We're back with a whole new season and we open with a bona fide musical superstar: Lily Allen.

A singer, songwriter, the recipient of multiple awards, Lily's songs such as Smile and The Fear are observationally crafted with honesty and irreverent wit. In 2018, she was nominated for a Mercury Prize for her (brilliant) fourth album, No Shame, and published her memoir, My Thoughts Exactly, which was a Sunday Times Number 1 bestseller. In it, she writes unflinchingly about feminism, fame and family dysfunction. Oh, and shagging Liam Gallagher in an airplane toilet. 

She joins How To Fail With Elizabeth Day to talk about failing to be famous, failing to report a sexual assault, body image, children, marital breakdown, drugs and alcohol, songwriting and why, one day, she might just enter politics.

I am SO EXCITED to have Lily on the podcast. It's so rare that someone this famous is also this honest and it's a real treat. I hope you enjoy listening.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen is out now published by Blink Publishing

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Lily Allen @lilyallen

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

  

 

Jan 02, 2019
How to Fail: End of Season Two
12:23

So here we are at the end of SEASON TWO of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, 16 wonderful interviews (and untold numbers of pots of babaganoush) later. In order to mark this momentous occasion, I speak to the legend behind the microphone, the one and only Chris Sharp, producer extraordinaire. We chat about our favourite moments of the podcast so far and discuss the most memorable building work we've had to contend with along the way (it's a nightmare for the sound quality, apparently). Ironically, this takes place just as building work is being done in the flat above mine, so you get to hear an unexplained thumping sound about three-quarters of the way through. You're welcome.

 

Thank you so, so much for listening, rating, reviewing and subscribing. We'll be back in the New Year with eight new brilliant guests. Until then, remember what Truman Capote said: 'Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.'

 

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

Nov 22, 2018
S2, Ep8 How to Fail: David Baddiel
47:03

For the season two finale of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, I speak to David Baddiel: comedian, author and co-writer of the best unofficial football anthem of all time (Three Lions, people). It was an interview that almost didn't happen because of his FAILURE to find a parking space near my flat. But we ended up piling into his Audi and driving to his house instead, so it all worked out in the end.

We discuss a horrendous corporate gig that almost put Baddiel off comedy altogether [warning: contains big swearing], his self-perceived failure to be taken seriously as a literary novelist, his overwhelming compunction to tell the truth, how he deals with internet trolls and hecklers and his failure to score a penalty in a Comic Relief charity football match.

Along the way, we talk about depression, anxiety, his father's dementia, Baddiel's ambiguous relationship with fame and why he might have been a premiership player, if only his childhood trainers had had velcro fastenings.

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

Head Kid by David Baddiel is out now published by Harper Collins

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

David Baddiel @baddiel

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

Nov 21, 2018
S2, Ep7 How to Fail: Tara Westover
48:01

This week, I bring you a truly incredible woman. Her name is Tara Westover. She wrote a memoir called Educated, which is quite simply one of the best books I have ever read: profound, moving, unerringly original. It tells the story of Westover's upbringing, born the seventh child of Mormon survivalist parents who didn't believe in public schooling or mainstream medicine. It wasn't until she was 17 that Westover decided to educate herself - with astonishing results.

We talk about what it's like to love your family but to be estranged from them, and how the two ideas can co-exist. We also discuss how on earth someone teaches themselves algebra ('Yeah,' says Westover, 'that wasn't fun') and what it was like to refuse any pain medication despite having a dental abscess. Her failures include flunking tests, finding it difficult to make friends, her failure to believe in her family's religion even though she wanted to and her failure to make her relationship with her parents work. She also quotes John Stuart Mill on feminism and it's completely brilliant.

This was one of those very special interviews where I felt my mind expanding just from the privilege of listening to her speak. I hope you enjoy it too.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

Educated by Tara Westover is out now published by Penguin

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Tara Westover @tarawestover

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

Nov 14, 2018
S2, Ep6 How to Fail: Farrah Storr
41:32

Farrah Storr, the award-winning editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, is this week's guest on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day and I'm so thrilled to have her on as have basically been stalking her on Instagram for years. In person, she does not disappoint.

We talk about the curse of perfectionism, the notion of  having-it-all (ish) and Farrah's decision to be a child-free woman. We also cover her failures as a child carol singer (and why she still can't face doing karaoke because of it), being rejected from the university of her dreams, disordered eating, failing at a job she'd wanted for ages and failing at a blind date with the man who later became her husband. Plus, we discuss her new book, The Discomfort Zone, and explore how doing what scares you can sometimes be the pathway to success. And we talk about Farrah growing up in Manchester, the half-Pakistani daughter of the local green-grocer who was desperate to 'blend in' and her creepy habit of shaving the heads of her Barbie dolls when she was a girl.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

Farrah's book, The Discomfort Zone, is out now published by Piatkus

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Farrah Storr @Farrah_Storr

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

Nov 07, 2018
S2, Ep5 How to Fail: Alastair Campbell
47:39

This week How To Fail With Elizabeth Day welcomes Alastair Campbell to the confessional booth. The former spin doctor to Tony Blair (and inspiration for the character of foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker in The Thick Of It) talks movingly about his mental health breakdown in 1986, and how that changed the course of his life. He also discusses living with depression, admitting to an alcohol problem, almost crying on live TV and playing the bagpipes (not all at the same time). Along the way, we talk about Brexit, Iraq, the dodgy dossier, the impact his workaholism has had on his personal life and whether he thinks New Labour was a failure or not.

Campbell is a beautifully open interviewee with some deeply candid and helpful things to say about coming back from failure and operating at the highest level of politics. It was a privilege to interview him, and somewhat surreal that he came to my flat and drank tea from my mug while I did so.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

The latest volume of Alastair Campbell's diaries, From Crash To Defeat, is out now published by Biteback Publishing

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Alastair Campbell @campbellclaret

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

Oct 31, 2018
S2, Ep4 How to Fail: Otegha Uwagba
50:31

This week my guest is writer, podcaster and all-round megawatt woman, Otegha Uwagba. Otegha joins me to talk about her failures at getting a job, dealing with sexism at work, living with depression and why she just can't seem to help being petty on Twitter (her words). We also discuss racism and how she handles daily micro-aggressions: 'I’m so conscious to be overly polite if I encounter a sort of older white person lest they then leave with a bad impression of black people generally,' Otegha says. 'I’m constantly having to code switch.' Along the way, we cover myriad other subjects including her briliant best-selling career guide for creative women, Little Black Book and why she resolutely refuses to wear florals.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

Otegha's brilliant podcast for working women In Good Company  features practical advice, fresh ideas and inspirational interviews.

Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba is out now published by 4th Estate Books

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Otegha Uwagba @oteghauwagba

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 24, 2018
S2, Ep3 How to Fail: James Frey
41:02

This week on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, we're joined by the author James Frey who also just so happens to be my first American guest (hello, USA! I heart you!). Frey has written four critically acclaimed novels, and his fifth - Katerina, a sweeping love story set between 2018 Los Angeles and 1992 Paris - has just been published.

But he's probably as well known for his notoriety as his talent. In 2003, Frey published A Million Little Pieces, a memoir of his criminal past and addiction to crack cocaine. An instant bestseller, it was picked by Oprah Winfrey for her influential book club. But when it was subsequently shown that Frey had fabricated large portions, Oprah brought him back on her show to give him an exceptionally public dressing down that made headines around the world.

This is a man who has been a literary rock-star and a literary pariah; someone who has experienced public failure on a level most of us couldn't even begin to comprehend. He joins me to discuss what that felt like, what he learned from the fallout, what the difference is between factual truth and truth in fiction, living with addiction, what he has learned from failure, and he tells me about his peronsal motto: 'Fail Fast, Fail Often'. Along the way, he also reveals whether he'd vote for Oprah if she ran for President and his unlikely support for the England football team.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

Katerina by James Frey is out now published by John Murray

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

Oct 17, 2018
S2, Ep2 How to Fail: Mishal Husain
38:44

The wonderful Mishal Husain joins How To Fail With Elizabeth Day this week, which I'm very excited about because she's basically my long-time woman crush.

Husain, who has been presenting Radio 4’s flagship Today programme since 2013 and is also one of our most recognisable and respected television broadcasters, joins me to talk about failing at university admissions, failing to get what she thought was her dream job, failing to ask the right questions in interviews and beating herself up about it afterwards. Along the way, we discuss racism, the impossibility of women 'having it all', the unhelpful narrative of 'the superwoman', her first book, The Skills, the gender pay gap and why she feels she's only ever as good as her last broadcast.

WARNING: This episode contains evidence of Elizabeth attempting to speak dodgy GCSE Russian.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

The Skills by Mishal Husain is out now.

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Mishal Husain @MishalHusainBBC

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 10, 2018
S2, Ep1 How to Fail: Jessie Burton
54:29

We're BACK! How To Fail With Elizabeth Day returns for a second season, and to kick this one off, I'm joined by mega-star, besteslling author Jessie Burton.

Burton's 2014 debut novel, The Miniaturist, was published in 38 countries and sold over a million copies and last Christmas, it was adapted into a sumptuous two-part BBC drama starring Romola Garai and Anya Taylor-Joy. Her secnd novel, The Muse, was a Sunday Times bestseller and Burton has just published her first book for children, The Restless Girls.

But Jessie actually started out wanting to be an actress, and spent much of her 20s trying and failing to land parts. Writing was something she did on the side, which eventually became her full-time career. It wasn't all plain-sailing, however, and in this interview, Jessie talks movingly about her struggles with anxiety, her breakdown at the height of her success and her failure to grieve the end of a meaningful relationship. We also talk about bodies, beauty, ambition and what to do if your instinct is to put your mum in a bin-bag (this makes sense if you listen, promise). Also featuring Margot, her extremely lovely grey-and-white cat.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

 

The Restless Girls by Jessie Burton is out now, published by Bloomsbury

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Jessie Burton @jesskatbee

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

Oct 03, 2018
How to Fail: End of Season 1
03:17

A thank you from Elizabeth for listening to the first season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day and a sneak peek of the guests lined up for season two. 

See you in October!

 

How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp

 

How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish

 

The Party by Elizabeth Day is published by 4th Estate

 

 

Social Media:

 

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Moorish @moorishhumous

Aug 30, 2018
S1, Ep8 How to Fail: Elizabeth Day
01:08:10

For the last episode of the first season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, our interviewee is…well…Elizabeth Day. Which means I’m currently writing shownotes about myself in the third person. Which is weird. Let me stop doing that.

Over the course of the last eight weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to interview some truly wonderful, interesting, successful people, all of whom have opened up to me and made themselves vulnerable by discussing the place failure occupies in their lives. It seemed only fair to turn the tables on myself.

In this episode, I’m truly honoured to have my brilliant friend Dolly Alderton interviewing me. Dolly is not only the author of the bestselling memoir, Everything I Know About Love, but she’s also a super-talented journalist and co-host of the iTunes-topping The High Low podcast. The way she interviewed me is really quite spectacular because she made it feel like a conversation, sharing her own excellent insights and humour along the way. As a result, I ended up being far more honest than I’d intended, opening up about everything from infertility and grief to intimacy and regret. I also talk about my conspicuous failure to be good at sport, despite lots of people assuming I must be good at things like tennis and running because I’m tall. I know, it makes no sense to me either.

This is the final episode in this season, but How To Fail With Elizabeth Day will be BACK with a whole new selection of fantastic guests in October. In the meantime, if you’ve enjoyed listening, please do rate and review us on iTunes. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for listening, and see you  in October!

 

 

How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp

 

How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish

 

The Party by Elizabeth Day is published by 4th Estate

 

 

Social Media:

 

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Dolly Alderton @dollyalderton

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Moorish @moorishhumous

Aug 29, 2018
S1, Ep7 How to Fail: David Nicholls
43:32

David Nicholls, bestselling novelist, critically acclaimed screenwriter, aspiring piano player and thoroughly nice man, joins How To Fail to talk about his myriad failures. You might not expect the author of One Day, which sold five million copies and was adapted into a film starring Anne Hathaway, to have much of an acquaintance with failure, but Nicholls insists there’s plenty to discuss.

We touch on his failure to be an actor for 10 years (he was always the understudy; never the main part), the anxiety that comes with success, the challenges and beauty of fatherhood and his failure to drive a car competently above 40 miles per hour.

We also talk about his Booker-longlisted novel, Us, and his brilliant TV adaptation of the Edward St Aubyn Patrick Melrose novels starring Benedict Cumberbatch, as well as the time he acted with Dame Judi Dench.

Despite all his achievements, Nicholls admits he still feels ‘very thin-skinned’ which is partly why he left Twitter after accidentally getting into a row with Stephen Fry (trust me, it’s a good story) and why, when a critic once said ‘No-one turns to David Nicholls for great sex scenes’ he felt he had to defend himself. So listen in to find out how to write sex. Or maybe how not to write sex. One or the other.

 

 

How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp

 

How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish

 

 

Social Media:

 

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Moorish @moorishhumous

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Aug 22, 2018
S1, Ep6 How to Fail: Gina Miller
41:29

Political activist Gina Miller is best known for one major victory when she successfully took the government to court over the triggering of Article 50 to leave the European Union. But in this week’s How To Fail, she discusses the failures that led her to that point. In a frank and honest conversation with host Elizabeth Day, Gina talks about failing to graduate from law school, surviving an abusive marriage, raising a daughter with special needs and building up her emotional resilience so that when it came to the crunch, she was able to find the strength to take a stand for what she believed in. Now that she has been catapulted into the unforgiving glare of the public limelight, Gina faces a daily barrage of death threats and racist abuse. She talks about how she handles this and how her unlikely heroes, Iggy Pop and Bruce Lee, have got her through even the darkest times.

 

How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp 

 

How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish

 

Gina Miller’s memoir, Rise, is published by Canongate on 30th August 2018.

 

 

Social Media:

 

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Gina Miller @thatginamiller

Moorish @moorishhumous

Canongate @canongatebooks

Aug 15, 2018
S1, Ep5 How to Fail: Olivia Laing
45:32

This week on How To Fail, we’re joined by the brilliant writer Olivia Laing. Her three critically-acclaimed works of non-fiction, To The RiverThe Trip to Echo Spring and The Lonely City, have explored themes of alcoholism, loneliness and suicide (and yet somehow manage to be deeply uplifting to read). Her recent debut novel, Crudo, has everyone from Jilly Cooper to Viv Albertine in veritable ecstasies. 

Olivia talks to us about losing her way in her 20s, how the torture of romantic break-ups has ultimately led to some of her greatest creative work and about what it’s like to be made redundant from a job you love. Along the way, we discuss gender fluidity, whether women are conditioned to self-deprecate, getting married at 40, why being raised by lesbians made Olivia less susceptible to patriarchal assumptions about What Men Want. We also debate whether Brighton has more dogs on strings than the average British city (spoiler alert: Elizabeth thinks that yes, it definitely does).

 

 

How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp 

 

How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish

 

Crudo by Olivia Laing is out now, published by Picador

 

 

Social Media:

 

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Olivia Laing @olivialanguage

Moorish @moorishhumous

Picador @picadorbooks

Aug 08, 2018
S1, Ep4 How to Fail: Sathnam Sanghera
46:14

This week, journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera joins How To Fail and kicks off by saying how flattered he was to be asked to contribute to a podcast on failure because he hates hearing nice things said about himself. So that’s good.

As well as discussing his failure to take a compliment, Sathnam talks movingly about growing up in a household where both his father and his sister had schizophrenia. At first, he tried to run away from accepting it and then when that didn’t work, he wrote a brilliant, award-winning memoir called The Boy With the Topknot which was later adapted for the BBC. (Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling is a fan).

Sathnam talks about his social failure at university (and his inability to get a girlfriend for three years), as well as his failure to learn an instrument,  his failure to score a high Uber rating and his failure to read back his own handwriting moments after he’s written something down. 

Along the way, we cover his childhood job in a Wolverhampton sewing factory, the modern tendency to confuse anxiety with serious mental health issues, grief and how he coped with the death of his best friend, heartbreak, success, the concept of 'negative mindfulness', racist dogs and Sathnam’s undying love for George Michael and Club Tropicana.

We also spend longer than necessary trying to remember the common colloquial phrase 'prepare for the worst, expect the best' which is embarrassing given that we both make a living from words.

 

How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp 

 

How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish

 

The Boy with the Topknot is published by Penguin and available to buy here.

 

Sathnam Sanghera’s website is here.

 

Social Media:

 

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Sathnam Sanghera @sathnam

Moorish @moorishhumous

Aug 01, 2018
S1, Ep3 How to Fail: Dolly Alderton
49:33

This week’s guest on How To Fail with Elizabeth Day is memoirist, podcaster and journalist Dolly Alderton. Dolly, the co-host of the utterly fantastic The High Low podcast and author of the brilliant Sunday Times bestseller Everything I Know About Love, talks about being rejected from Bristol University (and still feeling resentful of anyone she meets who went there), being ‘compassionately’ fired from a job she didn’t really want and what happens when you don’t meet the love of your life, even when you think you’re going to.

Along the way, we talk about the horror of being a teenager, internalised misogyny, the pressure for women to look good (‘I try very hard to remember that I’m not disappointing anyone if I don’t look perfect,’ says Dolly), sensitivity, people-pleasing, narcissism, discomfort zones, the brilliance of female friends and why it’s sometimes good to have a thin skin.

We also discuss Made in Chelsea (Dolly used to be a story producer) and her efforts to invent a new game show, where you would win your dream home but it wouldn’t have any doors. Sounds amazing. Not sure why it never got commissioned.

Note: this episode contains the phrase ‘absolute rotters’ used in a non-ironic way.

 

 

How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp

 

How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish

 

 

 

Social Media:

 

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

 

Dolly Alderton @dollyalderton

 

The High Low @thehighlowshow

 

Moorish @moorishhumous

Jul 25, 2018
S1, Ep2 How to Fail: Sebastian Faulks
45:13

Sebastian Faulks, bestselling novelist and author of Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, joins How To Fail to talk about his failure to win the Booker Prize (“the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous”), his sense of social isolation at boarding school and a period of depression at university he feels he has never fully recovered from. Along the way, he talks about what it really means to be a “successful” writer and whether it matters what other people think, as well as the time he failed his driving test and got bowled out having scored 98 at cricket (two separate occasions, thankfully). Then there was the painful occasion he baked a soufflé and it failed to rise, a cooking faux pas that haunts him still. And if that’s not enough to whet your appetite, feel free to download and subscribe in order to hear Elizabeth being sternly reprimanded by Sebastian for her misuse of the word “saga”.

 

How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp 

 

How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish

 

 

Social Media:

 

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Moorish @moorishhumous

Sebastian Faulks @sebastianfaulks

Jul 18, 2018
S1, Ep1 How To Fail - Phoebe Waller-Bridge
48:22

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator and star of Fleabag, writer of Killing Eve, superstar feminist and human embodiment of a Star Wars droid, joins How To Fail to talk about how she failed at her 20s (but got lots of brilliant material from the terrible dates she endured), failing at drama school, terrible auditions (including one for Downton Abbey) and how her female best friend is quite possibly the love of her life. She also talks about emotional vulnerability, why women fail at anger and about finding glory in one’s mistakes. There’s a great exchange about whether women should be open about whether or not they want children and a whole segue into the desirability of alabaster foreheads. Oh, and we cover the time Phoebe met Meryl Streep and embarrassed herself horribly, in what might be one of the greatest celebrity anecdotes of all time involving apple crumble. 

 

How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp 

 

How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish

 

 

Social Media:

 

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Moorish @moorishhumous

DryWrite @DryWrite

Fleabag @Fleabag

Killing Eve @KillingEve

Jul 13, 2018