Episodes
Published 09/30/22
How do you find your authentic voice? Viv Groskop talks to the writer, Kit de Waal, who found success later in life with her book My Name is Leon. Kit tells Viv how she reconciled the different parts of her Birmingham childhood, born to an Irish mother and African-Caribbean father, in her recent memoir - Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood. Not expecting to even make it into adulthood, Kit says that every day has been a bonus. Although she was brought up...
Published 09/30/22
Do you believe in yourself? Viv Groskop talks to the musical theatre performer, Marisha Wallace, best-known for roles in Something Rotten, Dreamgirls, Waitress and Hairspray. Marisha tells Viv that she was drawn to London six years ago for work and has never left, enjoying the freedom it’s given her to try different roles. She explains to Viv why she resists the ‘strong Black woman’ stereotype and that it’s ok not to be a superhero. Marisha nurtures her confidence by drawing on her...
Published 07/22/22
Are you reluctant to be in the limelight? Viv Groskop talks to the writer, Sadie Jones, who made her name with The Outcast, winning Best First Novel in the Costa Book Awards. Sadie is a self-confessed introvert who would much rather not leave her room, and certainly not own public ones. But sometimes her job as a successful author requires her to do so. She shares with Viv the tricks and techniques that she’s taught herself over the years to overcome her shyness and give back to readers who...
Published 07/15/22
Can you manage your nerves? Viv Groskop talks to legendary actor, Dame Sheila Hancock, ahead of a theatre audience to share reflections from her second memoir Old Rage. Dame Sheila reveals how she has always suffered from chronic stage fright and remains terrified until the end. They discuss how nerves are normal and getting through them. Dame Sheila is frank about shocking stories of sexism in the stage and screen world with overwhelming pressures to conform to a typical look or height. She...
Published 07/08/22
Can you tell your own story? Viv Groskop talks to award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Abi Morgan, whose work includes The Split, The Iron Lady, The Hour and Suffragette. Abi has occupied and owned many rooms in her life and career – the solitary writer’s room, the family rooms of bustle, the emergency hospital room, the space on set to direct. In all these arenas she’s adapted herself while keeping a steady eye on maintaining space to tell the stories she wants to tell. Four years ago,...
Published 07/01/22
What are you waiting for? Viv Groskop talks to writer, Ellen Nichols, author of Remember Whose Little Girl You Are. Now in her 70s, Ellen Nichols has published her first book – a memoir of growing up in the Deep South in the fifties and sixties. Ellen shares how her confidence to speak the truth was nurtured from a young age by her father, a Methodist preacher who spoke out against segregation in the face of vicious opposition. One memory of an encounter with the Ku Klux Klan as a young child...
Published 06/24/22
Do you bring your true self to the table? Viv Groskop talks to CEO Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Founder and Executive Chair of the fintech Snoop. She was the CEO of Virgin Money from 2007 to 2018, working closely with Richard Branson, and was often the only woman in a man’s world. Jayne-Anne discusses how she owns the room - sometimes using her full height to command authority - and sometimes showing openness and abandoning notes to connect with an audience. She asks what is true diversity? And...
Published 06/17/22
What will your social legacy be? Viv Groskop talks to corporate high flyer Emily Chang about her philosophy which has inspired a unique way of life, where the spare room is always available to young people in need. As soon as she was able, Emily followed her instincts to offer help in the form of a place to stay to the most vulnerable young people whose lives she crossed. She explains how it is a practice she continues to this day and how it informs her work in the corporate world as well as...
Published 06/12/22
Are you doing what is expected of you? Viv Groskop talks to writer Delia Ephron about following other people's rules. She explains how to blow it and still have a life. She talks about grief, about storytelling, about not having a strong sense of yourself - and about working out how to be true to yourself. It's not important to own the room, she says. It's important to own your own vision.   You can find out more about Delia on her website, and buy her book Left on Tenth: A Second Chance...
Published 04/14/22
Do you have a good relationship with yourself? Viv Groskop talks to psychotherapist and author Julia Samuel about how hard it is to own the room and relate well to others if you don't relate well to yourself. She talks about how our family history affects our confidence and how we are all haunted by the untold stories, the pain passed down through families. Julia reveals the "shame spiral" she herself experienced after appearing on the BBC's Desert Island Discs. And she explains the secret of...
Published 04/08/22
Have you stepped into your greatness? Viv Groskop talks to Vanessa Sanyauke, founder and CEO of Girls Talk London and expert in diversity, inclusion and sustainability in business. Vanessa celebrates uncertainty, curiosity - and never listening to your parents. She calls on us to move from being allies to advocates for marginalised communities - and reveals how important male allies have been to her journey. Oh, and she shares what Oprah Winfrey told her about how to look great in photos... ...
Published 04/01/22
Is your dream a nightmare? Viv Groskop talks to yoga teacher Paula Hines about giving up her dream job to take a different path as a yoga teacher, and the importance of trusting your instincts. She reveals how yoga can help you own the room, working with your own breath patterns, using simple exercises to release tension and not fixating on the perfect "yoga body". She explains the importance of paying attention to the space you are in and the reactions of the people in it. And she advises...
Published 03/25/22
Have you done your best? Viv Groskop talks to writer and second Children's Laureate Anne Fine, about the freedom of being well prepared. She says: if I've done my best and they don't like it, that's their problem. She talks about why she hates interactive talks and how much you can learn from bad speakers. And she argues you should never overestimate an audience's knowledge or underestimate their intelligence - particularly when talking to children. You can find out more about Anne Fine and...
Published 03/18/22
Do you know what you're talking about? Viv Groskop talks to author Lucy Foley about squeaky voices, head girl energy and never quite feeling you are a "proper" person. They explore judicious giving up, failing better - and just how you take the plunge and become a full time writer. You can pre-order Lucy Foley's book, The Paris Apartment now. A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
Published 03/11/22
Do you have the confidence to fail? Viv Groskop talks to Jan Ravens, the actress and impressionist. Jan (or is it Liz Truss?) talks about exploring the space between vulnerability and control. She recalls the way mental illness (and the stigma around it) shaped her family life, and reveals how working with others gave her back a sense of control after the strange end of her first marriage. She (or is it Theresa May?) talks the power of the double act, the horror of writing - and the vital...
Published 03/04/22
Can you laugh at yourself? Viv Groskop talks to Jules Breach, presenter for BT Sport, Premier League Productions and the Football Ramble podcast. She says knowledge is power when it comes to dealing with the whirlwind of live TV. But keeping it real matters even more. She reveals that as a woman in sport she is still far more scrutinised than her male colleagues, and even as one of the most sought after broadcasters around she still gets asked: "do you actually like football?" You can find...
Published 01/28/22
Can women win? Viv Groskop talks to writer Kate Mosse, founder director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and founder of the global Woman In History campaign. They discuss playing by your own rules - and winning. They talk ambition, feminism, being a carer and the horror of reading your own books. And Kate recalls actor Juliet Stevenson's advice: if you see a closed door, go round the side. You can find out more about Kate's work including her latest book The City of Tears at her website...
Published 01/21/22
Are you too polite? Viv Groskop talks to writer and public intellectual Siri Hustvedt about sexism, misogyny and why she believes politeness is a bad policy. She recalls being a child whose illness and "Alice in Wonderland syndrome" altered her perception of the world. She describes being an adult drawn to break down the traditional boundaries between ways of thinking. And she reveals the secrets of keeping calm, speaking out - and owning the room in the face of the hostility which can be the...
Published 01/14/22
Do you believe your own story? Viv Groskop talks to Amanda Horton-Mastin, formerly senior director at Comic Relief and current CEO of Semble, which connects companies and communities to drive positive change. They explore how conviction can be contagious, whether you are fundraising or networking. They talk sickening nerves, and the power of pretending everything is fine. They talk over-compensating for having very fluffy hair - and what losing at tennis can teach you about winning at life. ...
Published 01/07/22
Have you asked? Viv Groskop talks to financier and campaigner Helena Morrissey DBE about the power of just asking for what we want and need. They explore the value of expressing your true self as opposed to trying to fit in. Opting for personality rather than perfection. Embracing your own style rather than mimicking a traditional pinstripe. And why even she struggles to call herself ambitious...
Published 12/17/21
Could it be like jazz? Viv Groskop talks to writer, poet and performer Yrsa Daley-Ward about allowing a bit of improvisation into your performance, so that you can respond to the energy in the room. They talk shyness, nerves - and bringing the realest, clearest, most honest version of yourself. Don't look for perfection, she says. There's always another chance to create something new.
Published 12/10/21
Do you feel lucky? Viv Groskop talks to actress Dame Eileen Atkins about how owning the room is sometimes about being open to chance. They explore the genuine terror of the first night, the horror of being publicly judged, and why your own opinion is what matters. And there are room-owning anecdotes aplenty, starring the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier...
Published 12/03/21
Could you be a rebel? Viv Groskop talks to former French teacher and climate activist Anne Taylor about joining Extinction Rebellion to fight the climate emergency. They explore getting arrested, speaking in court and how to communicate with people who don't want to listen. They talk about quietness, passion, privilege - and discovering that a vital cause can drive you to own the room in ways you would never have expected.
Published 11/05/21
Are you homely or buccaneering? Viv Groskop talks to broadcasters Fi Glover and Jane Garvey, co-hosts of the Fortunately podcast and authors of Did I Say That Out Loud? Notes on the Chuff of Life. They explore the horror of bar stools, the power of pinching yourself and the nervous nosebleed. They discuss being small, being authentic and why the show must not go on in all cases. And why Boris Johnson's overconfidence ought to encourage a generation of schoolgirls.
Published 10/29/21