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Our Q&A with Author and Comedian Rosie Wilby

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

Rosie Wilby is an award-winning comedian, author and podcaster who has appeared many times on BBC Radio 4 programmes including Woman's Hour, Saturday Live and Four Thought. Her first book 'Is Monogamy Dead?' was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize and followed a trilogy of solo shows investigating the psychology of love and relationships. Her new book The Breakup Monologues is based on her acclaimed podcast of the same name and is published globally by Bloomsbury.

Rosie popped by with her wife and pooch to sign some copies of The Breakup Monologues while on her way to Powderham Castle for the 'Gone Wild' festival.

"In 2011, comedian and podcaster Rosie Wilby was dumped by email...

though she did feel a little better about it after correcting her ex's spelling and punctuation. Obsessing about breakups ever since, she embarked on a quest to investigate, understand and conquer the psychology of heartbreak. This book is a love letter to her breakups, a celebration of what they have taught her peppered with anecdotes from illustrious friends and interviews with relationship therapists, scientists and sociologists about separating in the modern age of ghosting, breadcrumbing and conscious uncoupling.

Mixing humour, memoir and science, she attempts to assimilate their advice and ideas in order to not break up with Girlfriend, her partner of nearly three years. Will this self-confessed serial monogamist, and breakup addict, finally settle down?" The Breakup Monologues blurb.

Here we have a little Q&A with Rosie. We wanted to know a little more about her life with books and who has influenced her career and joy of reading.

Which childhood read do you remember most and why?

Books I can remember reading as a child include a lot of fantasy novels by Alan Garner and C.S. Lewis. However the book that made the biggest impression on me in my late teens was Jeanette’s Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. I was made aware of it by the TV adaptation. As a young gay woman struggling with my own identity, it was slightly disturbing. But also made me want to discover more LGBTQI writing.

Bookshop or Record shop and why?

Throughout my twenties, I was living in North London and worked as a musician and as a freelance music journalist. I was always either performing at a gig or reviewing one for Time Out, NME, various local papers or now-defunct music mags. So I would have always frequented record shops in those days. However, now I would definitely be more likely to browse in a bookshop.

Which author inspired you most, did this help shape your career?

As a musician and comedian who turned to writing books later in life, many of my early role models are performers - Eddie Izzard, Victoria Wood, Kate Bush and many more. But I’ve also been very interested in memoirs written by performers. I loved Rhona Cameron’s book 1979 and related to it very much. Things the Grandchildren Should Know by the musician Eels was a favourite too.

If you could be a character in a book, who would you be?

Tricky question! Perhaps I would be Orlando so that I could live for centuries, change sex and have the amazing Tilda Swinton play me in a film.


What do you hope to achieve with The Breakup Monologues?

I hope to help people to feel better after a breakup and find some relatable and comforting laughs in the book. I’ve also been keen to break down some of the science about how humans experience love and heartbreak and make this really accessible and fun to everyone. And finally, I hope that it presents an inclusive look at relationships. When I was researching and doing background reading for my first book a few years ago, I was shocked at how many psychology books about love start with a disclaimer that they will mostly focus on heterosexual relationships. My book is written from the perspective of gay woman. Lots of readers of all persuasions have told me that they’ve found this really refreshing and quite eye-opening.

The soundtrack to your book?

The Breakup Monologues features a breakup playlist in the middle of the book. So these were definitely some of the songs in the background whilst I was writing, planning and editing. Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way is a personal favourite.

Your favourite Bookshop and why?

Liznojan is definitely one of my new favourites! Back in London, I love LGBTQ bookshop Gay’s The Word and my local indie Bookseller Crow. Lighthouse in Edinburgh has also been a regular haunt over the years when I’ve been performing in Edinburgh.

Want to hear more from Rosie? Listen to her podcast here:

Questions by Kayleigh Diggle. Join our mailing list by filling in our contact form.

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