How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

S10, Ep8 How to Fail: Kazuo Ishiguro

March 24, 2021

It's the season finale, so obviously I insisted our last guest be a Nobel Prize winner and...HERE HE IS! Kazuo Ishiguro, arguably one of our greatest writers of contemporary fiction, and a very lovely man to boot. His most famous book, The Remains of the Day, was written when Ishiguro was only 35. It won the Booker Prize and was adapted into a major film starring Antony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. His other works, including Never Let Me Go and The Buried Giant, collectively earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017. Now, at the age of 66, he's back with his latest novel, Klara and the Sun, which is told through the eyes of an AI robot designed to befriend children.

He joins me to talk about observation and outsiders, imposter syndrome and self-belief, his movie script failures and his failure to grasp the importance of science. Plus, his failure to understand life outside the metropolitan bubble leading up to the events of the Brexit referendum of 2016 and the election of Trump in the same year, something he describes as 'a major failure of vision, curiosity, imagination and empathy.' We also talk about the fact that he wrote the rough draft of The Remains of the Day in...wait for it...FOUR WEEKS.

I really loved this interview: he's just so clever and interesting. And funny too, which is even better.

Thank you, Sir Kazuo Ishiguro, for being my first Nobel laureate guest.

And that's all for season 10! We'll be back in the coming weeks for an extra-special bonus episode which, trust me, you will not want to miss.


Klara and the Sun is out now, published by Faber and available to order 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


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