122 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

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, Ep8 How to Fail: Meg Mason

    S12, Ep8 How to Fail: Meg Mason

    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.


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    You can buy Sorrow & Bliss by Meg Mason 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. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com


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    Social Media:


    Elizabeth Day @elizabday


    How To Fail @howtofailpod 


     

    • 1 hr 14 min
    S12, Ep7 How to Fail: Lady Hale

    S12, Ep7 How to Fail: Lady Hale

    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.


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    Spider Woman: A Life is out now. You can order your copy 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. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com


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    Social Media:


    Elizabeth Day @elizabday


    How To Fail @howtofailpod 

    • 55 min
    S12, Ep6 How to Fail: Stanley Tucci

    S12, Ep6 How to Fail: Stanley Tucci

    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.


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    Taste: My Life in Food is out on Thursday. You can preorder your copy 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:


    Stanley Tucci @stanleytucci


    Elizabeth Day @elizabday


    How To Fail @howtofailpod 


     


     


     


     


     


     


     

    • 1 hr
    S12, Ep 5 How to Fail: Ruby Tandoh

    S12, Ep 5 How to Fail: Ruby Tandoh

    [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.


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    Cook As You Are: Recipes for Real Life, Hungry Cooks and Messy Kitchens is out on 7th Oct 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:


    Ruby Tandoh @ruby.tandoh


    Elizabeth Day @elizabday


    How To Fail @howtofailpod 


     


     


     


     

    • 59 min
    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

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