How To Fail With Elizabeth Day
S12, Ep3 How to Fail: Phil Wang

S12, Ep3 How to Fail: Phil Wang

September 15, 2021

Today my guest is the excellent Phil Wang, stand-up comedian and soon-to-be published author. As a comic, Wang has appeared on a host of comedy panel shows including Would I Lie To You? and 8 out of 10 Cats. During the pandemic, he became the first UK comedian to tape and release a Netflix special at a sold-out London Palladium.

His new memoir, Sidesplitter: How To Be From Two Worlds At Once examines his dual identity as the son of a white British mother and a Chinese-Malaysian father.

He joins me to talk about failed shows, failed sporting endeavours and failing to learn Mandarin. We also discuss racism, introversion, height and why we're perfectly matched tennis partners.

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Sidesplitter by Phil Wang is out on 16th September. You can preorder it here.

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My new novel, Magpie, is out now. You can order it here.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Phil Wang @PhilNWang

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

 

 

S12, Ep2 How to Fail: Jacqueline Wilson

S12, Ep2 How to Fail: Jacqueline Wilson

September 8, 2021

Dame Jacqueline Wilson is the beloved children’s author of over 100 books and the creator of one of the most memorable characters of all time: Tracy Beaker. But it wasn’t until her 40s that Jacqueline became a bestseller. Now, at 75, she remains as indefatigable as ever. Her latest book, The Primrose Railway Children, a reimagining of E. Nesbit’s children’s classic, is published next week.

She joins me to talk about her failure to be practical, her failure as an actress and her failure to be healthy. In person, she's just as charmingly unforgettable as her fictional heroines. Enjoy!

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The Primrose Railway Children by Jacqueline Wilson is out on 16th September. You can preorder it here.

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My new novel, Magpie, is out now. You can order it here.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Jacqueline Wilson @FansofJWilson

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

 

 

 

 

 

BONUS EPISODE! How to Fail: Tanya Reynolds

BONUS EPISODE! How to Fail: Tanya Reynolds

September 2, 2021

Today, to mark the publication of my new novel Magpie, I bring you an EXTRA-SPECIAL TREAT in the form of the wonderful Tanya Reynolds.

Tanya is a brilliant actress who plays Lily in the hit Netflix show Sex Education and was recently seen on our screens as Mrs Elton in the remake of Emma, starring Anya Taylor-Joy. She's ridiculously talented, an all-round legend and also, as my tremendous good luck would have it, the audiobook narrator for Magpie - this episode even includes an exclusive chapter.

Tanya joins me to talk about her failure to get into drama school, her failure to make decisions, the life-changing art of improv and her failure to 'spend her time wisely'. Highly relatable and hilarious. Enjoy!

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If this episode whetted your appetite, you can buy the rest of Magpie on audiobook here

You can also order it in other formats here

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Tanya Reynolds @tanyaloureynolds

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S12, Ep1 How to Fail: Derren Brown

S12, Ep1 How to Fail: Derren Brown

September 1, 2021

My first guest for Season 12 is mind-blowing in the truest sense of the word. Derren Brown has had a 20-year television and stage career, during which he has deployed magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship with extraordinary - and sometimes - controversial results. He played Russian roulette live on screen. He predicted the results of the National Lottery. He convinced law-abiding citizens to rob a bank. He's also a painter and bestselling author. All of the facets of his career have been linked by his intense curiosity about human nature. His new release, A Book of Secrets, considers the value of difficulty in our lives so, yes, he's PERFECT for How To Fail!

He joins me to talk about failed driving tests, social anxiety and what failing on stage has taught him about life. This was such a profoundly stimulating conversation - and I hope it blows your mind as much as it did mine.

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Derren's new book, A Book of Secrets, is available to order here.

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My new novel, Magpie, is out TOMORROW. You can order it here.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Derren Brown @derrenbrown

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

 

 

 

 

 

S11, BONUS EPISODE How to Fail: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

S11, BONUS EPISODE How to Fail: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

July 28, 2021

When I started this podcast, I had a list of dream guests.* At the top was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her third novel, Americanah, is one of my favourite books of all time. I can remember exactly where I was when I read it. I was moved by the power of its epic sweep, the brilliance of its observations and the characters who made your heart break.

But although she's an amazing writer, Chimamanda's cultural reach goes much further than the literary world. Her TED Talks are among the most viewed of all time. Beyoncé sampled her words in Flawless. Anything she writes, whether it be fiction, essays or commentary attracts global attention. 

Her latest book, Notes on Grief, is an essay examining the devastation of her father’s unexpected death in June 2020. In March 2021, there followed a second heartbreak: the death of her mother, on what would have been her father’s 89th birthday.  Chimamanda joins me to talk about those terrible losses, the grief and rage it has left her with and how she is trying to cope. She also talks about being a daughter, motherhood, fertility and her unsuccessful attempts to conceive a second child, her frustration that she can't seem to write more at the speed she would like and...well, Kim Kardashian.

NB: This interview was recorded before Chimamanda's recent blog post on cancel culture which is why we don't talk about it. And a further note: this is an emotional listen that explores the raw depths of grief, so if you're not in that frame of mind, maybe leave it for another day. But if you want to hear someone eloquently explain what grief feels like to go through and what to do with the pain, then this is for you.

Thank you Chimamanda, for your honesty and your power.

*Michelle Obama, Stormzy, Dr Dre and Michael Jordan, since you ask. I've recently added Marcus Rashford to the list.

 

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Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is out now and available to buy here.

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My new novel, Magpie, is out on 2nd September. I'd love it if you felt like pre-ordering as it really helps authors! You can do that here.

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This episode is sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Use the code HOWTOFAIL at check out to get 20% off. How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie @chimamanda_adichie

 

 

 

S11, Ep8 How to Fail: Maggie O’Farrell

S11, Ep8 How to Fail: Maggie O’Farrell

July 14, 2021

For our season finale, I bring you the glorious Maggie O'Farrell. She is one of my favourite authors, and her books include the highly acclaimed novels After You'd Gone, The Hand That First Held Mine, Instructions for a Heatwave and the bestselling memoir I Am, I Am, I Am. Her most recent work of fiction, Hamnet, imagined the untold story of Shakespeare’s son who died at the age of 11. It won the 2020 Women’s Prize.

She joins me to talk about resurrecting the untold stories of women, how to be a writer and a parent (Cyril Connolly and his 'pram in the hallway' come in for a bit of a bashing) as well as how she applies concepts of success and failure to her books. She talks about her stammer and her failure to do a PhD and we also discuss how a childhood illness changed her forever, and the various physical repercussions that she still lives with. Plus: why she always finds the back of a tapestry far more interesting than the front...

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Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell is out now. You can buy all her books here.

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My new novel, Magpie, is out on 2nd September. I'd love it if you felt like pre-ordering as it really helps authors! You can do that here.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

 

 

 

BONUS EPISODE: HEERRREE’S DOLLY!

BONUS EPISODE: HEERRREE’S DOLLY!

July 11, 2021

SHE'S BAAAAAACK!

To mark the third anniversary of How To Fail, I invite back the one and only Dolly Alderton.

Dolly was one of my first ever guests in the debut season of How To Fail, way back in the mists of time (by which I mean the summer of 2018). Back then, she had just published her memoir Everything I Know About Love a few months earlier. She could have had little idea of the success that was to follow: it became a bestseller, won Autobiography of the Year at the National Book Awards and was selected for Stylist magazine’s best books of the decade by remarkable woman. Dolly is now adapting the book into a BBC drama. Her first novel, Ghosts, was published last year and went straight in at Number 2 in the Sunday Times Bestseller list. It's out in paperback later this month. She was also the co-host of the hugely beloved (and sorely lamented) The High Low podcast.

In public, it might have seemed as though Dolly was cresting the wave of extraordinary success. But it didn't always feel that way for her personally. She joins me to talk about the disconnect between outward success and inward sensitivity; about social media and her strategy for managing it; about love and loss and everything in between; about understanding that she is an extreme person and that's ok; and about her abject failure to bake birthday cakes. Plus she introduces me to the mind-shatteringly great concept of 'creative monogamy'.

Dolly is one of my favourite people. She's kind, generous, compassionate, wise, empathetic and hilarious and her return to How To Fail demonstrates all these qualities in abundance. I'm so touched she chose to come back and speak so honestly about her experiences. And I hope you enjoy this extra-special treat of an episode.

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Dolly will be turning the tables and interviewing me on 2nd September at London's Barbican to mark the publication of my new novel Magpie. If you're desperate for YET MORE OF US, I can promise an evening full of big emotion and belly-laughs. To book tickets (there's also an option to pre-order Magpie here so you'll be the first to get your hands on a copy) go to https://www.fane.co.uk/magpie 

See you there!

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Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is available to order here

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Dolly Alderton @dollyalderton

 

 

 

S11, Ep7 How to Fail: Martine Wright

S11, Ep7 How to Fail: Martine Wright

July 7, 2021

Martine Wright is a survivor of the 7/7 London terrorist bombings. Sixteen years ago today, she was travelling on a Circle Line tube to Aldgate station on the morning of 7th July 2005, when a suicide bomber sitting three feet away from her set off an explosion that would change her life forever. She lost both of her legs and was in a coma for 10 days after which she underwent a year of intensive rehab and multiple surgeries. Astonishingly, Martine went on to become an international sitting volleyball player and represented the Great Britain’s women’s team at the 2012 Paralympics in London. This is her extraordinary story.

She joins me to talk about resilience, living loss, experiencing an able-bodied world as a disabled woman, fertility, grief and how she believes catastrophic life-changes can have positive outcomes.

Martine is one of the most inspiring, hopeful, strong and brilliant people I've ever had the pleasure of interviewing. You do not want to miss this episode.

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You can read more in Martine's memoir Unbroken 

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My new novel, Magpie, is out on 2nd September. I'd love it if you felt like pre-ordering as it really helps authors! You can do that here.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Martine Wright @martine_wright

 

 

S11, Ep6 How to Fail: Paris Lees

S11, Ep6 How to Fail: Paris Lees

June 30, 2021

[TW: sexual abuse]

Today, my guest is the absolute PEACH of a human that is Paris Lees. Paris is an award-winning journalist and a Contributing Editor for British Vogue. She was the first trans woman to present on BBC Radio 1 and Channel 4 and the first to appear on Question Time. Her recently published memoir, What It Feels Like For A Girl, is the uniquely told, semi-fictionalised story of her childhood in Nottinghamshire - which included a spell as a rent boy and an eight-month prison sentence for armed robbery - and the refuge she found in partying, music and, eventually, books.

Paris joins me to talk about everything from dating and failed relationships to missed deadlines and trans rights. Plus we discuss what it feels like to be a highly sensitive person and how this self-perceived 'failure' has actually turned into one of her biggest strengths.

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Buy Paris's memoir, What It Feels Like For A Girl, here

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My new novel, Magpie, is out on 2nd September. I'd love it if you felt like pre-ordering as it really helps authors! You can do that here.

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Paris Lees @parislees

 

S11, Ep5 How to Fail: Christie Watson

S11, Ep5 How to Fail: Christie Watson

June 23, 2021

Christie Watson is a nurse turned bestselling author who went back to frontline nursing during the Covid-19 pandemic. But if you were to call her a 'hero' she would refuse the label - and during the course of this interview, she tells me why.

Watson left school at 16 and volunteered at a charity before training to become a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital. She spent the next 20 years in hospitals in various disciplines and mainly in paediatric intensive care.

Alongside that, she built up a successful writing career. Her debut, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, won the Costa First Novel Award and in 2018, she published a memoir - The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story, which has been translated into 23 languages. Her most recent book, The Courage To Care, is just out in paperback. 

She joins me to talk about failures in nursing, motherhood and, in an especially enlightening conversation, she tells me what happened when she thought she was having a breakdown only to be diagnosed as peri-menopausal. Every woman (and man) should listen. [WARNING: contains mention of clambering into fishfinger freezers].

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The Courage To Care is out now and available to buy here.

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My new novel, Magpie, is out on 2nd September. I'd love it if you felt like pre-ordering as it really helps authors! You can do that here.

*

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Christie Watson @christiewatsonwriter

 

 

 

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