How to Fail: Farrah Storr

November 7, 2018

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

 

 

 

 

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How to Fail: Alastair Campbell

October 31, 2018

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

 

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How to Fail: Otegha Uwagba

October 24, 2018

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

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Fail: James Frey

October 17, 2018

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

 

 

 

 

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How to Fail: Mishal Husain

October 10, 2018

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Fail: Jessie Burton

October 3, 2018

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

 

 

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How to Fail: End of Season 1

August 30, 2018

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

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How to Fail: Elizabeth Day

August 29, 2018

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

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How to Fail: David Nicholls

August 22, 2018

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

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How to Fail: Gina Miller

August 15, 2018

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

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