How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

howtofail

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.

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Oh what a truly lovely bonus episode I have for you today! I'm so delighted that I get to welcome the one and only Holly Willoughby onto the podcast. As the co-presenter of ITV's This Morning, she is a combination of daytime TV icon, national best friend and highly infectious giggler (if you need a boost, just YouTube this). But she's also now a BESTSELLING AUTHOR - her book Reflections was published last week and swiftly shot to the number one slot on Amazon. And she recently launched her own lifestyle and wellness platform, Wylde Moon. Holly joins me to talk about her failure to be present, her failure to to live by her own set of beliefs and falling into the trap of meeting other people's expectations and her failure 'to be an individual'. Along the way we discuss fame, body image and 'repackaging jealousy as possibility' (I know! It's a quote from her book! So good!). It's such a wonderful, open-hearted conversation and I'm so grateful to Holly for sharing her beautiful vulnerability with me. -- You can buy Reflections by Holly Willoughby here -- My new novel, Magpie, is out now. You can order it here. --- How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com --- Social Media: Holly Willoughby @hollywilloughby Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod     

Nov 3

1 hr 1 min

For the final episode of this season of How To Fail, I bring you the author of one of my favourite books of recent years. She is Meg Mason and her novel, Sorrow & Bliss, was the novel of the summer, lauded by everyone from Ann Patchett to Gillian Anderson via Olivia Wilde who was pictured reading it while on a yacht on holiday with Harry Styles. True facts.  Meg, a New Zealander who lives in Sydney, wrote a quintessentially British book that was at once utterly tender and riotously funny, about sisterly love, mental illness, the complexities of marriage, family pain and what it means to be human (complete with references to slag-heaps and a dishevelled Kate Moss). It is STUNNING and if you haven't read it yet, you must. In the meantime, have a listen to this episode which - like Meg's writing - is poignant, humane and true. We talk about failures both creative and personal - how people telling her she had her children too young made her almost believe it, how she regrets writing an 'angry' memoir, and how she fell-out with a childhood friend and almost lost her forever. If you've ever been through a friendship break-up, then this one's for you. I love Meg and I love this episode. It seemed an utterly perfect way to end our season. But, don't worry. We'll be back soon. -- You can buy Sorrow & Bliss by Meg Mason here -- My new novel, Magpie, is out now. You can order it here. --- How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com --- Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod   

Oct 20

1 hr 14 min

Well this one was quite intimidating, to be honest. My guest this week is Baroness Hale of Richmond, one of this country's finest legal minds. She was the first woman President of the supreme court, the youngest and first female commissioner to be appointed to the Law Commission and has been dubbed the Beyoncé of the legal world owing to her popularity among young law students. But you might just know her best for her spider brooch, which she wore in 2019 while delivering a stinging ruling finding Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament to be unlawful. Her memoir, Spider Woman: A Life, has just been published. Lady Hale joins me to talk about battling sexism in law, her failures at school and academia, the loss of her father at a young age, the death of her beloved husband during Covid and her 'abject failure to knit a dishcloth aged five.' Along the way we cover, Beyonce, spiders, Ian McEwan and much, much more. -- Spider Woman: A Life is out now. You can order your copy here. -- My new novel, Magpie, is out now. You can order it here. --- How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com --- Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Oct 13

55 min 31 sec

Today, I welcome the inimitable Stanley Tucci. His talents are legion: he's an Academy Award nominated actor whose credits include everything from The Devil Wears Prada to The Hunger Games and Julie & Julia. He's also a notable foodie, and the presenter of the Emmy-award-winning Searching for Italy and a beautiful memoir, Taste: My Life Through Food, which is published on Thursday. And,  of course, he's the  negroni-making Instagram sensation whose lockdown cocktail skills launched a thousand salivating online comments. Stanley joins me to talk about his failure to swim, his self-perceived failure to direct and his failure to help his first wife, Kate, when she was dying of cancer. He is everything you would expect him to be: charming, urbane, eloquent, funny and profoundly moving. I absolutely loved recording this episode and I hope you love listening to it too. What. A. Guy. -- Taste: My Life in Food is out on Thursday. You can preorder your copy here. -- My new novel, Magpie, is out now. You can order it 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 --- Social Media: Stanley Tucci @stanleytucci Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod               

Oct 6

1 hr

[TW: eating disorders] Oh but how I *love* today's guest. Ruby Tandoh is the former Great British Bake Off contestant who went on to write cookery books, a manifesto for eating what you want (Eat Up), a column for the Guardian and pieces for the New Yorker, among other prestigious publications. Her new book, published next month, is called Cook As You Are and contains 100 original recipes accessible to real home cooks, no matter their age, budget, ability or background. She joins me to talk about her failures at university (dropping out of four different degree courses and counting), her failures at cooking (no, really) and her failure to 'rise above things'. Along the way, we chat about short attention spans, spontaneity, calling people out on hypocrisy, regrets and why she keeps comparing men she doesn't like to types of ham on Twitter. -- Cook As You Are: Recipes for Real Life, Hungry Cooks and Messy Kitchens is out on 7th Oct and available to preorder here. -- My new novel, Magpie, is out now. You can order it 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 --- Social Media: Ruby Tandoh @ruby.tandoh Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod         

Sep 29

59 min 44 sec

[TW: discussion around suicide] This week's guest, Ramla Ali, is the first Somali boxer ever to compete at the Olympic Games. Ramla was born in Mogadishu, shortly before the outbreak of a brutal civil war. After her eldest brother was killed by a grenade while playing in the garden, the family embarked on a perilous journey to leave - first to Kenya, where they survived on Unicef food rations, and later to the UK where they claimed asylum.  In London, Ramla first took up boxing to lose weight while a teenager, and tried to keep it a secret from her Muslim relatives. But her love of boxing was stronger than any family disapproval, and she kept at it, winning her first fight in 2011.  Since then she’s graduated with a First in Law from SOAS University in London, become an Elle covergirl (she models part-time to make enough money to support her boxing career) and written her first book: Not Without A Fight, which is out tomorrow. Ramla joins me to talk about her failures as a bullied teenager at school, her failure to win an Olympic medal and her failure to be there for her best friend Danika when she was going through severe mental health issues. It’s a brave and honest discussion that reflects Ramla’s courage in the ring as well as out of it. -- Not Without A Fight: Ten Steps to Becoming Your Own Champion by Ramla Ali is out tomorrow and available to preorder here. -- My new novel, Magpie, is out now. You can order it 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 --- Social Media: Ramla Ali @ramlaali Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod    If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this episode, Samaritans are here to help. Call 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org  

Sep 22

58 min 43 sec

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. -- Sidesplitter by Phil Wang is out on 16th September. You can preorder it here. -- My new novel, Magpie, is out now. You can order it 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 --- Social Media: Phil Wang @PhilNWang Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod     

Sep 15

52 min 7 sec

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! -- The Primrose Railway Children by Jacqueline Wilson is out on 16th September. You can preorder it here. -- My new novel, Magpie, is out now. You can order it 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 --- Social Media: Jacqueline Wilson @FansofJWilson Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod           

Sep 8

1 hr 1 min

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! --- 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 --- 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 --- Social Media: Tanya Reynolds @tanyaloureynolds Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod             

Sep 2

1 hr 11 min

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. --- Derren's new book, A Book of Secrets, is available to order here. --- My new novel, Magpie, is out TOMORROW. You can order it 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 --- Social Media: Derren Brown @derrenbrown Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod           

Sep 1

59 min 20 sec

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.   ---- Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is out now and available to buy here. --- 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. --- 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 --- Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie @chimamanda_adichie      

Jul 28

1 hr 9 min

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... * Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell is out now. You can buy all her books here. * 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod       

Jul 14

54 min 17 sec

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. * 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! * Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is 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 howtofailpod@gmail.com * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Dolly Alderton @dollyalderton      

Jul 11

1 hr 8 min

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. * You can read more in Martine's memoir Unbroken  * 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Martine Wright @martine_wright    

Jul 7

1 hr 8 min

[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. * Buy Paris's memoir, What It Feels Like For A Girl, here * 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Paris Lees @parislees  

Jun 30

59 min 10 sec

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]. * The Courage To Care is out now and available to buy here. * 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Christie Watson @christiewatsonwriter      

Jun 23

1 hr 1 min

My guest today is Guvna B, the MOBO-award winning rapper, author and broadcaster. He grew up on a council estate in East London and went on to study at the University of Hertfordshire before forging a full-time career in music. He's since released 10 albums and a memoir, Unspoken, in which he examines toxic masculinity and male identity. Guvna B - otherwise known as Isaac Borquaye - joins me to talk about the death of his father, and two of his close friends, and how he had to address his grief in order to carry on living. We discuss the power of vulnerability, fatherhood and finding 'blessings in the struggle'. We talk about faith, identity, race and inter-generational trauma. Plus we discuss failures in exams, driving tests and...erm...mobile phone storage - and why he once blew £4000 on trainers in Westfield. Thank you Isaac, for opening up with such generosity in what turned out to be a deeply inspirational conversation. * Unspoken by Guvna B is out now and available to buy here. * 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Guvna B @GuvnaB      

Jun 16

56 min 9 sec

I absolutely loved this interview. Whatever your preconceptions about politicians, please set them aside, because you're about to meet Ed Miliband: former leader of the Labour Party, current shadow business secretary, fellow podcaster and author of a new book, Go Big: How To Fix Our World. Ed joins me to discuss his failure to win the 2015 general election, suffering from anxiety, failing to get the degree he worked so hard for and a failure to keep his late father, the noted Marxist academic Ralph Miliband, alive. We touch on his family history - both his parents escaped Nazi Germany and many of his relatives were killed in the Holocaust - and we consider whether carrying the hopes and dreams of previous generations makes him feel more duty-bound to succeed. Along the way, we discuss therapy, competitive swimming with Alastair Campbell, political optimism, the power of big ideas, bacon sandwiches, Ed-stones, Milibae, sibling rivalry (yes, I do ask him how things are with his brother David), Boris Johnson, fatherhood and why he'll never win an argument with his wife. Ed, thank you for coming on How To Fail with such a generous spirit and for engaging so brilliantly with the premise. You're a mensch. * Go Big: How To Fix The World by Ed Miliband is out now and available to order here. You can listen to Reasons To Be Cheerful, his excellent podcast, co-hosted with comedian Geoff Lloyd here. * 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Ed Miliband @ed_miliband    

Jun 9

58 min 4 sec

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill is an Olympic heptathlon gold medallist and a three-time world champion. This is a woman who knows what it takes to succeed at the very highest levels, and who has learned to process failure when she doesn't win. I learned so much from her insight. And she's still only 35! We had a truly fascinating conversation about the psychology of competitiveness, the importance of loyalty and roots, how injury taught her the value of rest and how losing the 2011 World Championship to a woman who later turned out to be a drugs cheat fuelled Ennis-Hill's desire to do better. We also talk about the specific challenges facing female athletes - from dealing with heavy periods to suppressing menstrual cycles altogether in order to compete - and how the fact that these issues weren't really talked about has now motivated Ennis-Hill to make fitness more accessible to women. Plus she talks about making the difficult decision to return to athletics after the birth of her first child, and why she wishes she'd trusted her own instincts. Oh, and obviously I ask her about the London 2012 Olympics. Enjoy! * Ennis-Hill's fitness app for women, Jennis, is available here. * 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Jessica Ennis-Hill @jessicaennishill    

Jun 2

59 min 25 sec

What better way to kick off a new season of interviews by interviewing one of the very best interviewers? INTIMIDATED, ME? Pahahahahaha. We open Season 11 of How To Fail with the peerless, hilarious and warm Graham Norton. Chat show host extraordinaire, bestselling author and beloved radio presenter, he joins me to talk about his failure to become an actor, to crack America and to throw a ball (no, really). We also talk about the art of the interview, his workaholic tendencies and, in an incredibly moving exchange, his near-death experience. Plus: what he learned from being a waiter and what happens when your lifelong dream *doesn't* come true. And I ask him whether he's jealous of James Corden. We laughed. We welled up. We chatted. What a gent he is. (Graham, that is, not James. I mean, I'm sure James is too, but...you know what I mean...ok I'm going now...byeeee!) * Graham Norton's latest novel, Home Stretch, is out now in paperback and available to order here. * 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Graham Norton @grahnort  

May 26

1 hr 5 min

TW: discussions about suicide For Mental Health Awareness Week, we have a very special bonus episode with Dr Alex George. A former Love Island contestant who after exiting the villa, returned to his job as an A&E doctor. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, he’s been hard at work on the frontline. Behind the scenes, he has had to cope with devastating personal tragedy - his younger brother, Llyr, died by suicide in July 2020. Alex’s openness about his own mental health has been a comfort for many, and in February he was appointed the UK’s Youth Mental Health Ambassador.  This week marks the publication of his first book, Live Well Every Day. Alex joins me to talk openly about everything he’s been through - from failing to get the grades for med school to getting sunburned on Love Island. We talk about mental health, resilience, fear, depression, introversion - and why he loves bath bombs. We also talk about his brother’s death at the age of 19, the guilt Alex feels at not having known Llyr was struggling and the lifelong pain his absence has left behind. Thank you Alex, for all that you do and for trusting me with your story. * This special episode is sponsored by Jo Malone London  * If you've been affected by any of the issues discussed, Samaritans are here to help. Call them for free on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.uk * Alex's book Live Well Every Day is out now and available to order here. * How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com * Social Media: Dr Alex George @dralexgeorge Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Jo Malone London @jomalonelondon  

May 12

1 hr 3 min

I'm almost too excited to write this but..for this extra-special bonus episode, I bring you none other than Adrian Dunbar: the man, the myth, the legend who plays Superintendent Ted Hastings in one of my favourite ever TV shows Line of Duty. If you're watching season six of Jed Mercurio's addictive police procedural, I suspect you will be obsessed with this interview (and yes, of course I ask him about 'H') but if you've never seen Line of Duty, I promise you'll still love it because Adrian is such a wonderful, thoughtful guest. We had a really moving conversation about growing up in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, the sudden death of his father from a brain haemorrhage, the impact this had on his family and what it meant to win a place at drama college in the midst of all the uncertainty. Plus what it's like to work with Vicky McClure and Martin Compston on Line of Duty, where he gets his catchphrases from and I ask him to call me 'fella' which was joyous. That's it from me for season 10. I'll be back in a few weeks' time for a special Mental Health Week episode. Please do make sure you've subscribed so as not to miss out! And thank you, as ever, for listening. * If you'd like to listen to a How To Fail episode with another Line of Duty star, I interviewed the wonderful Vicky McClure aka Kate Fleming way back in Season 4. You can find it here. * With many thanks to Scott Bryan for permission to use his fantastic video mash-up of all Ted Hastings's catchphrases. You can follow Scott on Twitter on @scottygb * Failosophy: A Handbook for when Things Go Wrong is out now and available to buy 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod           

Apr 7

51 min 43 sec

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 howtofailpod@gmail.com * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod     

Mar 24

59 min 46 sec

On an excitement scale of 1-10 I am currently at a 15 because this week's guest...is my best friend. As well as being my bff (arguably her most important qualification, I'm sure you'll agree) Emma Reed Turrell is also a brilliant psychotherapist and the author of what is destined to become a must-read book, Please Yourself: How to Stop People-Pleasing and Transform the Way You Live. This is the manual every single self-identifying people pleaser needs to read (and in fact, even those who don't think they are people-pleasers should read it because Emma has helpful advice for you too). The book is packed full of clinical expertise, case studies, practical guidance, intellectual rigour and humour. Plus the odd mention of me. (Well,  ok, there's one). It's her first book and it truly blew my mind. I've been wanting an excuse to get Emma on the podcast for ages because she is my life guru: a person who has been there for all my ups and downs, who has seen me at my lowest and highest ebbs and who has always had these incredible stores of wisdom that have helped guide me through. I honestly don't know what I'd do without her. And I wanted to be able to share some of that with you! She joins me to talk about why we people-please, how to stop it and how we can benefit from not being liked, as well as her own journey to understanding the difference between feeling alongside, rather than along with, her failure to be a good extrovert and her failure give the appropriate number of f***s. And we revisit some of our favourite friendship memories, which might or might not include her dance routine to Salt N' Pepa's Push It. I love you, Emma. And I love that I get to share this with all you lovely listeners. It's a special one. * Emma's book Please Yourself, is available to pre-order here  And if you'd like to get in touch with her directly, Emma's website is 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 * Social Media: Emma Reed Turrell @etcounselling Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod                     

Mar 17

1 hr

Today's episode is an important one. Jim Down is an ICU doctor on the frontline of the Covid crisis. He is a consultant in critical care and anaesthesia at University College London Hospital, running the intensive care unit at one of London’s busiest hospitals, where life and death decisions are an everyday occurrence. Despite having spent all his adult life working in these conditions, nothing could have prepared Jim Down for Covid-19. As the pandemic descended in spring 2020, Down found himself under almost unimaginable pressure. He and his colleagues dealt with an unprecedented surge in patients, critically ill from a terrible new disease with no known cure. Down is still working at the frontline, still donning PPE every day, still under extreme pressure as the NHS continues to battle through the pandemic and keep us safe. He joins me to talk about this, as well as how he manages his own anxiety, why lockdown works (it's worth it, everyone!) and what he's learned from this unprecedented time. He tells me about his awkwardness at being described as a 'hero' and how he deals with the emotional challenge of informing relatives their loved ones have died. Plus, we discuss his failures in adolescence, professional failures and - rather unexpectedly - a failure in stand-up comedy. Listen to be both moved and informed. Thank you, Jim. * You can watch Jim Down being interviewed on BBC News at the height of the pandemic here. * Jim Down's book, Life Support: Diary of an ICU Doctor on the Frontline of the Covid Crisis is 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 howtofailpod@gmail.com * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod               

Mar 10

44 min 26 sec

This week, Dr Nicole LePera is here to blow your mind. Better known to many as The Holistic Psychologist on Instagram, where she has over 3.4 million followers, Le Pera has gained huge popularity by breaking down complex but helpful psychotherapeutic ideas into accessible, and often life-changing, social media posts. A trained clinical psychologist, LePera was frustrated by the separation between body and mind in some traditional therapy. Now she's put her theories into a book, How To Do The Work: a holistic approach to mental health which encourages us to look for connections between our body and mind, and empowers us to believe that sometimes we have the tools for our own healing. She joins me to talk about failing at marriage, failing at work and family estrangement. We discuss personal boundaries, trauma bonds, how to deal with criticism (and what her response is to the criticism directed at her methods specifically), co-dependency, how to say no, epigenetics, guilt and much, much more. I have been following LePera's work for some time now and I gleaned so much from this episode, so all I'm saying is...you might want to have a notebook ready. * How To Do The Work by Dr Nicole LePera is published next week and is available to pre-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 howtofailpod@gmail.com * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Dr Nicole LePera @the.holistic.psychologist          

Mar 3

1 hr 11 min

Emma Barnett is the presenter of BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, a gifted broadcaster whose forensic interviewing style has reduced politicians to gibbering wrecks and whose compassion and insight can move listeners to tears. She's also the author of Period: It’s About Bloody Time, a book borne out of her own experience of living with painful endometriosis which for years went undiagnosed. At the time of recording, her book was about to come out in paperback, but that's been pushed back to 8th July because, well, pandemic. Link to buy / pre-order is below! Emma joins me to talk about the ingrained sexism that means so-called 'women's issues' are concealed by misplaced shame, as well as how her failure to get pregnant for two-and-a-half years led her to a dark place. It is one of the most honest conversations I've ever had about fertility, from someone who has truly walked that path. Plus, she admits to getting bored easily by repetitive conversations and failing to live in the moment enough...and I mean, DON'T WE ALL? I first interviewed Emma on a How To Fail live tour in Salford in 2019 (remember live events?!) but I had so many requests asking for her to come back and for her pearls of wisdom to be recorded for posterity that I’m delighted we get to welcome her onto the podcast. Enjoy! * Period by Emma Barnett is out now in hardback and available to preorder in paperback here * And while we're here...my new novel, Magpie, is published on 2nd September and is, according to the publishers, 'a thrilling, stylish and psychologically astute story of jealousy, motherhood and power.' Wooohooo! I'd be so grateful if you wanted to pre-order as it massively helps us authors. You can do that here  THANK YOU! * 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Emma Barnett @emmabarnett  

Feb 24

1 hr 12 min

Alexandra Burke shot to fame as the 2008 winner of The X Factor. She became the first British female solo artist to have a million-selling single and went on to have a successful career as both a recording artist and a performer: her lead roles in the stage adaptations of The Bodyguard and Sister Act met with rave reviews. But behind the public profile were private battles: her beloved mother was dying, she was subjected to racism in the music industry and her story was frequently misreported in the media. Alexandra joins me to talk about managing this difficult duality and what it taught her about her own strength and resilience. She tells me about never thinking she's good enough, learning how to set boundaries, losing herself in relationships, failing to put herself first and the grief of losing her mum. We also talk about how, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, she chose to speak out about the racism she endured and the impact this had on her. I'm not sure I've ever connected with someone as instantly as I did with Alexandra! She's an amazing, vibrant, warm-hearted soul who understands that being open about her failures is actually the key to self-growth. This is one of the most emotional episodes I've ever recorded. I'm so grateful to Alex for the beautiful gift of her vulnerability. Listen to be moved (and perhaps have some tissues nearby). * Failosophy: A Handbook for when Things Go Wrong is out now and available to buy 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Alexandra Burke @alexandraburke  

Feb 17

1 hr 1 min

Today, I invite you to listen to one of my most-requested guests. I've lost count of the number of messages I've received begging me to get Matt Haig on the podcast, and now here he is: the man, the myth, the legend himself! Matt is a bestselling author of both fiction and non-fiction and a mental health advocate whose admirers include everyone from Dolly Parton to the Duchess of Sussex. After surviving serious, life-threatening depression in his 20s, Matt used his experiences to form the basis of his 2015 memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, which was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and stayed in the UK top 10 for 46 weeks. His latest novel, The Midnight Library, tells the story of Nora Seed, who, after attempting to take her own life, finds herself in a library of books which contain alternative versions of Nora’s future. It's a charming meditation on what it means to live a fulfilled life, and on the often blurry line between failure and success. Matt joins me to talk about his failure to get the right work / life balance, his failure to check his own privilege and how he wishes he'd been open about his mental health earlier [TW: contains discussion of depression and suicide]. We also talk about having thin skin in an age of social media, how to handle criticism and the dangers of being given 'expert' status when you've never sought it for yourself. * Matt's latest novel, The Midnight Library, is out now. * Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom and is out now. * 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Matt Haig @mattzhaig          

Feb 10

1 hr 1 min

[TW: contains discussion of eating disorders, including references to calorie-counting and body dysmorphia] We're back, baby! So much has changed hasn't it? Last year, I released a new series in the grip of a national lockdown and a global pandemic. This year...well, I'm releasing a new series in the grip of a national lockdown and a global pandemic. I hope Season 10 of How To Fail brings you some much-needed cheer in these strange times. And WHAT a guest I have for you to kick off with. Jameela Jamil started out as an English teacher, fell into TV presenting, subsequently became an actress, starring alongside Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in The Good Place and is now well-known for her activism.  In 2018, Jameela launched I Weigh, which has grown into a radically inclusive global movement against shame and now has its own YouTube channel and podcast. Along the way, she's come in for her fair share of criticism - perhaps unsurprising when you consider her habit of calling out of media hypocrisy on Twitter and Instagram where she has a combined following of 4.4 million. Jameela joins me to talk about her failure to be a 'good' female celebrity, her failure to be kind to her body and her failure to get a handle on her finances. If you are a woman, a parent of a daughter, or simply a sentient human being trying to do this thing called life, you will find this episode full of mind-expanding truth bombs. Enjoy! * My book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom and is out now. * 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Jameela Jamil @jameelajamilofficial      

Feb 3

57 min 6 sec

It's the weirdest time of the year, when all the days become a formless sludge and we start to miss getting emails. Navigating the days between Christmas and New Year can be tricky at the best of times, but in 2020 there's an extra layer of WTAF. So I knew I wanted to talk to someone motivating, but not annoying; someone who could nudge us gently into 2021, without making us feel like we weren't already good enough; someone sweet and funny who wasn't smug; someone who, in short, is as sceptical about New Year's resolutions as I am and can instead make us all feel better about who we are right now. That person is Leanne Hainsby. Anyone who is lucky enough to own a Peloton will already know who Leanne is. Anyone who doesn't know what a Peloton is, well, it's basically a super-duper fixed exercise bike with a video screen that enables you to join live and on-demand classes given by amazing instructors. If you have never been on a Peloton and would rather chew your own feet than go to a spin class PLEASE STAY WITH ME. You don't need to have any prior knowledge to love Leanne Hainsby, I promise. She is the UK's first female Peloton instructor, a woman whose physical strength is matched only by her emotional authenticity. A former professional dancer for everyone from Katy Perry to Steps, she is kind, supportive, enthusiastic, funny, insightful and empathetic. Her trademark phrase, shouted through the screen to the hundreds of thousands of Peloton riders who join her classes, is 'Yes to you.' Leanne is, quite literally, my favourite person I haven't met yet. And so I wanted to introduce you all to her because she's a total gem. She joins me to talk about her failure to value herself in past relationships, her failure to be punctual and her failure to see herself beyond her problematic skin (such an interesting conversation). Along the way, we chat about music, cats, mood swings, how to exercise when you really don't feel like it and, yes, there might be a few details about her boyfriend (fellow UK Peloton instructor, Ben Alldis). Please have a listen even if you don't think this episode is for you. I promise you it will put a spring in your step. And if it doesn't, I'll give you your money back...oh now, hold on, this podcast is free so that's not possible. You see? Everyone's a winner! YES TO YOU! * If you're in the mood for an antidote to all the 'new year, new me' hype, I can entirely objectively (ahem) recommend my new book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong which explains why I hate New Year's resolutions and which also contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom. * This episode is not sponsored, but I did want to flag a new book by Samaritans out on 7th January. How To Listen comes with a preface by Michael Palin and includes helpful tips from trained Samaritans on how to talk about how we are feeling, as well as how to listen to one another in a way that can prevent day-to-day concern or worry from escalating into more complex emotions. You can (pre)order your copy 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 * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Leanne Hainsby @leannehainsby    

Dec 2020

56 min 44 sec

An alternative Christmas message for anyone who needs it.      

Dec 2020

9 min 10 sec

For this four week miniseries, we've been introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose. My final guest is Rebecca Anderton-Davies, a woman with a double life: a high-flying investment banker who has become a yoga phenomenon in her spare time. At the age of 27, she was hit by a van while cycling to work, breaking her collarbone and badly damaging her shoulder tissue. As part of her rehabilitation, her physiotherapist suggested she started doing a slow form of yoga. To begin with, Rebecca was, by her own admission, 'rubbish' but she soon found that the lessons she learned in failing on the mat served her well in the rest of her life. When, a couple of years later, a doctor found blood clots on her lungs - a life-threatening condition - yoga helped her again. But her busy job meant that she didn't often have time to make it to a studio, so Rebecca started practising at home, and sharing her journey on Instagram. This year, she published The Book of Yoga Self-Practice, enabling everyone stuck at home during lockdown to keep their bodies moving. She joins me to talk about all of this, as well as the joy - and wisdom - that comes from embracing imperfection when you're a perfectionist. Rebecca is such an uplifting, smart and self-deprecating guest: even if you've never done yoga (or, like me, you've done it for years and still can't do side-crow or headstand and are deeply competitive with the man in the harem pants at the front of the class even though you know that's not the point of yoga) you *will* gain something precious from this episode. * You can buy The Book of Yoga Self-Practice here. * Looking for a Christmas stocking filler? I can highly recommend Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong which contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom. * 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 You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here. * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Rebecca Anderton-Davies: @somewhatrad    

Dec 2020

30 min 22 sec

For this four week miniseries, we'll be introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose. Today, my guest is Bassel Deeb. Bassel was born in Damascus, Syria. When his country descended into a brutal civil war, he was forced to flee. He came to the UK in 2013 where he applied for asylum. Bassel joins me to talk about this life-changing experience and about what it's like to have to redefine your idea of 'home'. He talks with candour about the conflict that surrounded him in Syria, and about leaving his friends and family behind. He also speaks of his gratitude for being 'one of the lucky ones' and for having been able to make a life for himself here. And he explains what these experiences have taught him about taking a breath, pausing, and understanding the beauty of a simple moment. I first met Bassel two years ago when I went to give a corporate talk at his former employer's. I have never forgotten him. After listening to this, I suspect you won't be able to either. Thank you, Bassel. * Looking for a Christmas stocking filler? I can highly recommend Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong which contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom. * 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 You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here. * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Dec 2020

31 min 3 sec

For this four week miniseries, we'll be introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose. Today, my guest is Ross Barr. When Ross was 20,  his dad died suddenly and unexpectedly, and he turned to acupuncture to help him deal with his heartbreak. After one session of treatment, he knew this was his path. Now, Ross is one of the UK's most sought-after acupuncturists, who counts the Duke and Duchess of Sussex among his clients. He joins me to talk about what acupuncture has taught him, coping with grief, understanding balance, treating survivors of the Cambodian genocide and why what connects us is stronger than what sets us apart. But he's really funny too. So we also chat about what his mum said when she found out he was treating royalty, why we all need to be 'a bit more 1990s' about life and why his friends call him 'the Disney Prince' (he's going to hate that I mentioned this but hey ho, he's a dear pal so I'm sure he'll cope...). I hope you enjoy the episode!   * Ross J. Barr Supplements are a new range of natural, food state supplements to support men and women trying to conceive, as well as to nourish expectant mothers from conception right through to the fourth trimester. Available to order here * You can book an appointment with Ross here * Looking for a Christmas stocking filler? I can highly recommend Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong which contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom. * 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 You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here. * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Ross Barr @rossjbarrclinic

Dec 2020

30 min 10 sec

For the next four weeks, we'll be introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with four extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose. First up: Yinka Bokinni, a radio DJ who grew up on the North Peckham Estate in South London. She was the childhood friend of Damilola Taylor, the 10-year-old schoolboy stabbed to death in a stairwell on his way back from the library in 2000. Yinka joins me to talk about how this experience shaped her, why Damilola was so much more than the 'tragic victim' the media portrayed him as and how her resilience and passion for justice has been forged as a result. She also talks about her Nigerian and Irish upbringing, her love of Judge Judy (a podcast first) and the importance of celebrating everyday moments of connection by living victoriously. Yinka is such a beacon of optimism and hope that this was a truly uplifting interview. I hope you enjoy it.   * I have a new book out! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains two-and-bit years worth of accumulated wisdom from my fantastic podcast guests. I'd love it if you bought a copy. Also: they make EXCELLENT gifts imho. * 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 You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here. * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Yinka Bokinni @yinkabokinni

Nov 2020

28 min 24 sec

For our second and final bonus episode this season, I bring you the dulcet tones of actor Jamie Dornan. Most recently seen in The Fall (currently on Netflix and BBC iPlayer) playing a serial killer with an incongruously happy family life, Dornan is also well-known for starring as Christian Grey in all three of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie adaptations, which brought him to the worldwide attention of millions. He joins me to talk about failures in acting, failures at school and a failure to sit still. We also discuss growing up in Northern Ireland at the heigh of The Troubles, male objectification, the death of his beloved mother from cancer at the age of 16 and the loss of four friends in a car crash shortly afterwards. We talk about grief, therapy and what it means to be a father. And we talk about why he walks on his tiptoes. I think this one of my favourite ever interviews and I hope it brings you some comfort through these undoubtedly challenging times. How To Fail will be back with a ONE-OFF SUPER SPECIAL MINISERIES at the end of the month, where I’m doing something a bit different…follow @howtofailpod on Instagram or Twitter to be the first in the know!   * I have a new book out! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains two-and-bit years worth of accumulated wisdom from my fantastic podcast guests. I'd love it if you bought a copy. Also: they make EXCELLENT gifts imho. * 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 You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here. * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Jamie Dornan: @jamiedornan

Nov 2020

1 hr 8 min

It is such an honour to welcome the extraordinary Claudia Rankine to the podcast. She is a poet, playwright and essayist, a woman who's life's work has been devoted to the interrogation of race and white supremacy and to the discovery of what connects - and divides - us as human beings. Her 2014 book, Citizen: An American Lyric is the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the non-fiction category. It also won the Forward Poetry Prize. Her latest work, Just Us, explores a series of real encounters with friends and strangers. Its genre-defying essays, images and poems span everything from Beyonce to airport lounges. This was, I think, one of the most important conversations I have *ever* had about race. Being able to listen and learn from Claudia's wisdom and intellect was an unforgettable experience and I'm so glad that I get to share it with you.   * I have a new book out! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains two-and-bit years worth of accumulated wisdom from my fantastic podcast guests. I'd love it if you bought a copy. Also: they make EXCELLENT gifts imho. * 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 You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here. *  Claudia Rankine's Just Us is out now. * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod                 

Oct 2020

55 min 33 sec

Yes, it's the SEASON FINALE - I know, I know, it comes around so quickly doesn't it? But fear not, for we have an excellent guest in the form of James Acaster: comedian, podcaster, author and music enthusiast (specifically enthusiastic for anything released in 2016, which he claims in his book, Perfect Sound Whatever, is the best year for music dot dot dot ever). As well as being the only British stand-up to have fronted a four-part Netflix special, James co-hosts the Off Menu podcast. He joins me to talk about mental health, political correctness, relationship break-ups, dropping out of school and the importance of making mistakes without being overly critical of everything you've ever done wrong [TW: contains discussion of suicidal thoughts]. Plus the time he called a heckler a paedophile and immediately regretted it. Thank you so much for listening to season nine - and we'll be back in the not-too distant future with a couple of exciting bonus episodes. * I have a new book out! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains two-and-bit years worth of accumulated wisdom from my fantastic podcast guests. * 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 You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here. *  James Acaster's book, Perfect Sound Whatever, is out now. * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod             

Oct 2020

1 hr 1 min

[TW: contains discussion of sexual assault] You asked - and we listened. Welcome to one of the most requested podcast guests of all time, the wonderful Nadiya Hussain. Baker, tv presenter, author and all-round good egg, Nadiya joins me to talk about her failure to enjoy life, her failure to finish university and her failure to speak out on issues she subsequently realised were important for a public figure to tackle - such as race, identity and the issues we face as a country (such a self-aware failure, that). We also discuss her recently discovered joy of not planning, her constant effort to remain in the present and the fact that she doesn't have a cleaner (her children help her clean the house every weekend...I KNOW). * I have a new book out! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains two-and-bit years worth of accumulated wisdom from my fantastic podcast guests and is available here * Nadiya's new book, Nadiya Bakes, is 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 howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here. *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Nadiya Hussain @begumnadiya How To Fail @howtofailpod                             

Oct 2020

1 hr 3 min

***SPECIAL EPISODE KLAXON*** To mark the publication of my new book, Failosophy, I take a trip down memory lane and share my favourite moments from the How To Fail archive, featuring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mo Gawdat, Alain de Botton and many, many more. AND I discuss the three personal failures that many lovely listeners sent in - they're funny and insightful and moving (best have a hankie nearby, is all I'm saying). Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to write in and to all of you for listening. I love and appreciate you more than I can say. * Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is published on 1st October and is available here * I am doing a LIVE show at the newly Covid-secure London Palladium on 2nd October at 6.30pm UK time. It is also live-streamed online. If you'd like to buy tickets for either option, you can do so 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 You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here. *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod         

Sep 2020

1 hr 7 min

I'VE GOT A TEXT...MESSAGE. This week's guest is Ovie Soko, a man who entered the Love Island villa in 2019 and rapidly became iconic by uttering this phrase. But he's so much more than a reality TV star: famed for his laid-back charm and wise advice, Ovie is also a professional basketball player and a soon-to-be-published author. His debut book, You Are Dope, is out next week. Ovie joins me to talk about almost getting expelled from school, cheating on a girlfriend and being caught stealing from his mother. Along the way we discuss Black Lives Matter, and his experiences of being pulled over by police in America, Love Island, Nigerian families, faith, relationships, social media and what it means to channel your difference as a super-power. What. A. Dude. * PLEASE PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK, THANK YOU! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is available here * To celebrate the publication of Failosophy, I am doing a LIVE show at the newly Covid-secure London Palladium. It is also live-streamed online. If you'd like to buy tickets for either option, you can do so here. * You Are Dope by Ovie Soko is available for pre-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 howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here. *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Ovie Soko @oviesoko How To Fail @howtofailpod                             

Sep 2020

50 min 33 sec

I've wanted to get this guest on for ages and now - hooray! - here she is: the inimitable Ruby Wax. Ruby started out as an actress at the RSC, took a side-step into comedy and had a hugely successful television career, interviewing everyone from Madonna and Imelda Marcos to the Spice Girls. But, after living with depression all her life and a series of breakdowns, she got a Masters from Oxford University in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy and is now a mental health campaigner and author. Ruby joins me to talk about mental health, mindfulness, job loss, how to deal with anxiety and comedy as a vehicle for truth. We chat about the influence of her late, dear friend Alan Rickman, the trauma of a difficult upbringing, the time she mortally embarrassed herself in front of Sir Paul McCartney and her spectacular failure at an audition for Saturday Night Live. Oh, and we talk about what happened when she interviewed the future President of the United States, Donald Trump, on his private jet [spoiler alert: it wasn't great]. And if you enjoyed this episode, Ruby's new book, And Now For The Good News...From the Future With Love is out TOMORROW!   * PLEASE PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK TOO, THANK YOU! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is available here * To celebrate the publication of Failosophy, I am doing a LIVE show at The London Palladium. It is also live-streamed online. If you'd like to buy tickets for either option, you can do so 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 You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here. *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Ruby Wax @rubywax How To Fail @howtofailpod                         

Sep 2020

1 hr

At the age of 80, Annie Nightingale still manages to be one of the most forward-looking and future-facing people I've ever interviewed. She is the legendary Radio 1 DJ - the first woman ever to get a job at the station and now the BBC's longest-serving presenter and a vital force in British music. Annie joins me to talk about confronting sexism, breaking the mould, getting the best of of interviewees and what it's like to have met everyone from David Bowie to Paul McCartney to Eminem and Jim Morrison (he didn't impress her much tbf). We also touch on her convent school education, her inability to tell a lie, her failure at A-Levels and her terrible financial planning. She is, it has to be said, a total riot. * PLEASE PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is available here * To celebrate the publication of Failosophy, I am doing a LIVE show at The London Palladium. It is also live-streamed online. If you'd like to buy tickets for either option, you can do so here. * Annie Nightingale's memoir, Hey, Hi, Hello, is out now. * 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 *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Annie Nightingale @aanightingale How To Fail @howtofailpod               

Sep 2020

49 min

Mohsin Zaidi's memoir, A Dutiful Boy, is one of the most powerful and emotive books I've read this year. It tells the story of his upbringing in a poor pocket of east London, in a devout Shia Muslim community. His family were close-knit and religiously conservative. From a young age, Mohsin knew that his sexuality was a secret he had to hide in a household where being gay was viewed as an inconceivable taboo. Despite these personal struggles, Mohsin became the first person from his comprehensive school to go to Oxford University, later becoming a leading barrister. And then he told his family the truth. Mohsin joins me to talk about the realities of being gay and Muslim, about what it means to love your family while keeping your truest self hidden and about how he found the strength to break through the barriers surrounding him in the search for a truly authentic life. Trust me, YOU WILL LOVE THIS EPISODE. Mohsin is so eloquent and interesting and sweet-natured and funny that you can't help but fall in love with him a little bit, even when he's talking about such harrowing and difficult experiences. Inspiration is a word that gets bandied around a lot, but Mohsin Zaidi is a man who is wholly worthy of it. * PLEASE PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is available here * To celebrate the publication of Failosophy, I am doing a LIVE show at The London Palladium. It is also live-streamed online. If you'd like to buy tickets for either option, you can do so here. * A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi is out now and available to buy 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 *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Mohsin Zaidi @mohsinzaidi_ldn How To Fail @howtofailpod           

Sep 2020

58 min 5 sec

IT'S SEASON NINE AND I FEEL FINE, BABY! And we open with a humdinger - the podcasting king, comedy legend and all-round thoroughly decent bloke that is...[drum roll + X Factor announcer voice]...ADAM BUXTON. Adam joins me to talk about misdirected perfectionism, dropping out of university, mid-life crises and what it means to be a parent after the death of your own. We talk about privilege, being sent to boarding school aged nine, whether he feels rivalry with his astonishingly successful friends (*coughs* Louis Theroux *coughs*) and about what makes a bad spoon. That's not a euphemism, by the way, we do literally talk about bad spoons. Adam is such a lovely man and it was an honour to have him on How To Fail, especially given that his podcast always charts higher than mine, the bastard. He is so funny - listen out for the anecdote involving wrapping scaffolding in multi-coloured ribbon - and he introduced me to the brilliant concept of having a mind like a sat nav, which is to say: if something doesn't go according to plan, the challenge is to find another route to the destination. I like that. I hope you like the episode. It's good to be back. * PLEASE PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is available here * Ramble Book by Adam Buxton is out (in physical form) next week. You can pre-order it 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 *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Adam Buxton IS NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIA...wow How To Fail @howtofailpod       

Aug 2020

1 hr 5 min

GLORIA STEINEM. Gloria ACTUAL Steinem.   For this very special bonus episode, I had the absolute honour of interviewing one of my all-time heroes, the feminist activist, writer and icon, Gloria Steinem. And yes, I'm still pinching myself.   We talk about her failure to understand her mother, her failure to be at her father's deathbed and her failure to learn lessons quickly enough - yes, we go deep... She also talks to me about how, at the age of 86, she is joyfully outliving society's expectations of her; of how fear can often be a sign of growth (let that sink in), about how 'anger is an energy cell', about how we are 'linked not ranked', about not having children, about spending a lifetime combatting misogyny and racism and sexism and injustice, and about the counteracting forces of love and compassion and friendship which keep her going. If you've been watching the Mrs America miniseries about the battle for equality, then this is a MUST-LISTEN, even if I do say so myself.   I love Steinem's work so much that I often quote her in my own - the book of How To Fail is a classic example (she's in the 'Anger' chapter) - and so to be given a chance to meet her, albeit remotely, was honestly a life highlight. She did not let me down. In fact, she exceeded my wildest expectations.   Whoever said never meet your heroes clearly never met Gloria Steinem. * If you've enjoyed this season of How To Fail, you might like to join me for a livestream event I'm doing on 2nd October to mark the launch of my new book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong You can book here * The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off, an illustrated collection of Steinem's best quotes, is out now and available to buy 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 *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Gloria Steinem @gloriasteinem How To Fail @howtofailpod               

Aug 2020

57 min 56 sec

It is the SEASON FINALE, BABY! I know, I know - it goes so quickly doesn't it? But here we are, two months after we started season eight, with a truly phenomenal guest. Bernardine Evaristo was the first black woman to win the Booker Prize, with her stunning novel, Girl Woman Other. She joins me to talk about her failure to be an actor, her failure to drive from London to Australia (hey, it happens to the best of us) and...brilliantly...her failure to be a lesbian. Along the way, we talk about writing, motivation, race, coercive control, age, gender and the courage she found to create her own work when none was offered to her. Bernardine is the embodiment of that overused term - an inspiration - and a truly jouyous interviewee. Thank you for listening! * If you've enjoyed this season of How To Fail, you might like to join me for a livestream event I'm doing on 2nd October to mark the launch of my new book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong You can book here * Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo is available to buy 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 *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Bernardine Evaristo @bernardineevaristowriter How To Fail @howtofailpod         

Jul 2020

1 hr 2 min

Siena Castellon is my youngest ever guest. She's a 17-year-old activist and mentor. She is autistic, has dyslexia and dyspraxia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. And she's just published her first book. Her book, The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic, is a brilliant guide for neurodiverse girls navigating a neurotypical world. It is packed full of information and insight into many of the challenges that autistic teen girls face. There are sections on how to date, how to deal with social anxiety and sensory sensitivity and an analysis of the fact that autism is routinely underdiagnosed in girls (in Siena's words: 'we’re really good at hiding our autistic traits. In fact, we become so good at pretending to be “normal” that we convince everyone that we’re neurotypical.') Siena joins me to talk about being bullied at school, being misunderstood by teachers and failed by a mainstream education system that seemed unable to appreciate her difference. We discuss neurodiversity, sexism, dogs, prejudice, challenging the stereotypical 'Rainman' view of autism and why it's important to stand up for yourself. As Siena puts it: 'I've learnt that you can't assume that people experience the world the way you do and that it's important to express yourself to avoid people making untrue assumptions about you.' Siena is AMAZING. Listen to her and feel inspired (and also probably quite old). * The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic by Siena Castellon is out now and available to purchase here. * I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy 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 *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Siena Castellon @NCWeek How To Fail @howtofailpod     

Jul 2020

58 min 25 sec

This week, I bring you the utterly sensational Glennon Doyle. She is the author of three books, the latest of which, Untamed, is a memoir that defies easy categorisation - somewhat like the woman herself. Untamed is thrilling, original and brave. In it, Glennon dismantles our socialised preconceptions of what women should be and challenges us all to look at the boxes we're trapped in that are not of our own making. She joins me to talk about all of this, and about why women are taught to 'look outward for permission, approval and consent' when we should be looking 'inward for wisdom' (I KNOW! THIS IS GENUINELY HOW SHE SPEAKS!) But, don't worry, there's also plenty of amazing stuff in here whatever gender you are.  We also discuss her failure to have a thick skin (and how she protects herself from judgement), her failure to keep her family together (and what this taught her about love) and her failure to be fully comfortable with her own body image (despite years of trying). Every sentence she utters contains a revelation, which is why when the time came to edit this interview I just...couldn't. So I've let it run at full length, with no cuts, exactly how it happened.  Enjoy. * I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy 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 *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Glennon Doyle @glennondoyle How To Fail @howtofailpod                   

Jul 2020

1 hr 5 min