Sara Pascoe tells Graham Norton about her debut novel Weirdo

Virgin Radio

17 Sep 2023, 16:13

Sara Pascoe joined The Graham Norton Radio Show with Waitrose to talk about her new book and when she will be returning to stand-up comedy.

Sara Pascoe has swapped writing about the female body for writing a rom-com, and the end result is her debut novel, Weirdo.

Speaking to Graham Norton about leaving the non-fiction world behind, the stand-up comedian explained: "It was a huge relief not to be thinking, ‘Oh, there's a new study,’ everything I've written is already wrong, or, ‘Oh, gosh, I need to do some more research.’

"It felt really enjoyable in the way that creating things as a child felt because anything can happen.

"You realise that when [authors] tell you things like, ‘The character just made up their own mind,’ or, ‘I thought they were going to do this and suddenly they just resisted it, and they went over there,’ you really find that that's true.

"Once [the characters] exist in your brain, they're telling you what happens."

Describing the protagonist Sophie, Pascoe said: "She really thinks she's going to be very famous one day like lots of us do, so she is sort of collecting things for her biographer.

"I think it's a young person thing sometimes when you really think, ‘I'm going to do something one day,’ I don't know what it is.

"She thinks sometimes it could just be that she gets murdered, but she just wants to make sure that her biographer can sort of go back and the research is done."

The 42-year-old added: “I really wanted to meet a character where something huge is about to happen and we don't quite know, as a reader, how reliable they are as a narrator.

"She's working in a pub, someone walks in from her past, someone that she's got all of these feelings about, and a history with, who seems not to know her at all.

"Then over the course of the book, which isn't a huge amount of time, we get to know her better and we find out more and more of what happened with this guy."

Explaining why she decided to start Weirdo with a Jeanette Winterson quote, that reads, “It is much better to read yourself as fiction, not as fact”, Pascoe proposed: “I think that's something that we all do, we narrativise our lives a little bit.

"I think even more now with things like Instagram or reality TV, we're really aware of the external.

"Like, a really common thing I think is like having a song play in your ears, and you're walking along, and suddenly, you're in a film, and it's you and London is a backdrop or wherever you live.

"For Sophie, that's a really extreme version. She's very, very conscious of whether she's being watched to the point of paranoia."

The comedian reflected: "I think if you make your life a story, and this is what standups do, it makes it more tolerable, you know.

"It makes it like that was the end of that chapter, or that's how we resolve that issue."

When asked how long it will be until she returns to stand-up, Pascoe revealed: "[I’m taking] a brief pause but it's never [for] too long, because I just really miss it.

"Your brain doesn't stop thinking of angles and writing things down.

"I always think I'll take a long gap, but I'll be back."

Weirdo by Sara Pascoe is available to buy in bookstores now.

Listen to The Graham Norton Radio Show every Saturday AND Sunday from 9.30am on Virgin Radio or catch up on-demand here.