118 episodes

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.

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day howtofail

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 6.8K Ratings

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.

    S12, Ep4 How to Fail: Ramla Ali

    S12, Ep4 How to Fail: Ramla Ali

    [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.


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    Not Without A Fight: Ten Steps to Becoming Your Own Champion by Ramla Ali is out tomorrow and available to preorder 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:


    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


     

    • 58 min
    S12, Ep3 How to Fail: Phil Wang

    S12, Ep3 How to Fail: Phil Wang

    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 


     


     

    • 51 min
    S12, Ep2 How to Fail: Jacqueline Wilson

    S12, Ep2 How to Fail: Jacqueline Wilson

    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 


     


     


     


     


     

    • 1 hr 1 min
    BONUS EPISODE! How to Fail: Tanya Reynolds

    BONUS EPISODE! How to Fail: Tanya Reynolds

    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 


     


     


     


     


     


     

    • 1 hr 11 min
    S12, Ep1 How to Fail: Derren Brown

    S12, Ep1 How to Fail: Derren Brown

    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 


     


     


     


     


     

    • 59 min
    S11, BONUS EPISODE How to Fail: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    S11, BONUS EPISODE How to Fail: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    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


     


     


     

    • 1 hr 9 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
6.8K Ratings

6.8K Ratings

mnieoiooomni ,

V

Maybe woooivo
Mommies nino

hc17539 ,

Great podcast!!!

Brilliant podcast! Great host! Truly helped me!

Silkybean ,

Brilliant

One of my favourite podcasts, Elizabeth day is a brilliant interviewer, she clearly researches and listens to her guests and engages in a natural conversation. Excellent guest too!

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