S14, Ep4 How To Fail: Natasha Brown

Natasha Brown is the author behind one of my favourite novels of recent years. Assembly runs to 100-pages and has already been compared to Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. It was shortlisted for both the Folio and the Goldsmiths Prize, as well as being named the Foyles Bookshop Book of the Year. It tells the story of an unnamed Black British woman working at a bank in the city, who is confronted with the numbing aggression of racist encounters and systems as she confronts a life-or-death decision.
When I first met Natasha, I knew I had to get her on the podcast. She is so wise, clever and emotionally intelligent. She talks to me about failures in social media, learning French and a tele-sales job that taught her about the power of language itself. We also discuss how she feels about failure given her objective levels of success, the concept of separating your own identity from what it is you do, race as a construct and what 'privilege' really means (if anything). Also: what she learned from studying Maths at university (yes, she's one of a select bunch of novelists with a Maths degree, including David Foster Wallace...).


Assembly by Natasha Brown is now out in paperback and available here: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/444/444275/assembly/9780241992661.html


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 

Natasha Brown @wordsbynatasha