Elizabeth Day is a writer and broadcaster who presents the iTunes-chart—topping podcast, How To Fail With Elizabeth Day. Her accompanying memoir, How To Fail, was a Sunday Times Top 5 bestseller. She is the author of four novels, the most recent of which, The Party, was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick. She has a weekly column for You magazine on the Mail on Sunday. Elizabeth invited us into her new home to help her unpack and chat about everything from nicknames, to friendship and favourite books.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My best friend, Emma, who is a psychotherapist who works hard to make people’s lives better on a daily basis. Also, Greta Thurnberg. I find the purity of her passion both incredibly moving and inspiring.
Where do you find inspiration for a book or story?
Anywhere and everywhere. I try not to examine where I get my creative inspiration too closely in case it doesn’t happen again and I’m a bit superstitious about it. But it can be as simple as something I read in a newspaper, a place I’ve visited or a conversation I’ve had with a friend.
What do you look for when reading a book or watching a film?
If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead from any period in history.. who would it be and why?
Richard III because I’m convinced he didn’t kill the Princes in the Tower (niche answer there – I’m a History graduate, so a bit of a geek about these things).
What is your biggest fear and how do you overcome it?
The death or illness of those closest to me. I don’t think you can overcome that, exactly, but I actively choose to be grateful for the uniqueness of their existence every single day and I remind myself that love doesn’t end simply because someone stops breathing.
(Also: aeroplane turbulence. I had hypnotherapy for it.)
What is your definition of success?
Being your truest self, in every aspect of your life, and acknowledging that real power lies in kindness, vulnerability and empathy.
Where or when do you feel most empowered?
I’m about to go on a live tour for How To Fail, and the occasions I’ve felt most empowered recently have been the two stage shows I did in London earlier this year. Standing up there, in front of an auditorium full of people who had chosen to share their vulnerabilities, and feeling able to talk openly about my own, was really empowering and very touching.
Also, whenever I’m with my boyfriend or my closest friends: they empower me massively, just by believing in me.
What book and/or podcast are you most engrossed in at the moment?
I’m reading Zadie Smith’s new short story collection, Grand Union, and I’m listening to my friend Clemmie’s beautiful podcast series, The Open Ears Project, where interviewees talk about the piece of classical music that is most meaningful to them.
What is your favourite piece of RIXO?
The Linda Micro Garden Stripe dress. It’s so flattering, and I love the details – the romantic, sheer billow of the sleeves, and the tie-up back.
You have a busy day ahead, which RIXO piece do you wear?
Without doubt the yellow Ariel Micro Tulip Dress. It’s so easy and so lightweight to travel with. I can dress it down with trainers and a leather jacket or up with heels and I always look as if I’ve made an effort. And every time I wear it, someone comments on it!
Podcast: How To Fail With Elizabeth Day