Curtis Sittenfeld rejects the idea that ageing is somehow bad or shameful

My guest today is the bestselling author of American Wife and Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld. I first came across Curtis when both our debut novels were named “ones to watch” by Time Magazine. They turned out to be right about one of us. It wasn’t me!

Since that first novel, Prep, hit the big time, Curtis has written six more novels and two short story collections. The most famous of which is the transatlantic bestseller American Wife, a fictionalised look at the life of Laura Bush, wife of George W Bush that ponders the question of whether she would have voted for him!

Her latest novel, Romantic Comedy is a total departure and absolutely the tonic we need right now. It asks, pertinently, how come hot accomplished women persistently marry average blokes, but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around. And what if… it did?!

Curtis joined me from her home in a very snowy Minneapolis to talk about how men constantly punch above their weight, why rom-coms are having a comeback and how she found her funny. We also discussed writing out your emotions, why old is not a synonym for bad and how weird shit has happened to everyone by the time they reach their 40s.

* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at The Shift bookshop on, including Romantic Comedy By Curtis Sittenfeld and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me.

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The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker

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