A Deep-Dive Into The Epidemic of Anxiety, with Author Olivia Sudjic

The High Low

By Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton

A Deep-Dive Into The Epidemic of Anxiety, with Author Olivia Sudjic

From Prince George memes (@garyjanetti) to vegan abuse (last week journalist William Sitwell was sacked from the Waitrose Food magazine, for his jokes about killing vegans) via the healthiest/ unhealthiest high streets in the UK, as voted by The Royal Society of Public Health. Edinburgh won, Grimsby lost, and you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out why. 

Today we have author Olivia Sudjic on the show to discuss her new essay, Exposure, about the anxiety that threatened to engulf her after her debut novel, Sympathy, became a literary success. Part literary criticism, drawing on some of her favourite works by female authors, Sudjic’s intelligent, sharp, thoughtful and deeply confronting essay discusses not just anxiety but all of its merry cohorts: insomnia, self-surveillance, self-loathing, sabotage, imposter syndrome and the gender imbalance when it comes to critiquing women’s fiction (as Roxane Gay points out, Knausgård is never called a ‘diarist‘.) Sudjic discusses what it means to be a published author, divorcing yourself from your art and why anxiety, when correctly managed, can be a positive force: a galvanizing ‘self-awareness’ which keeps you writing. 

According to The World Health Organisation (2017) over 260 million people worldwide suffer from an anxiety disorder; it affects almost twice as many women as men. Oft considered a modern epidemic, the subject is something we’ve long deliberated about covering on The High Low, but have never had the nerve. We hope the conversation proves as valuable to others, as much as it did us. 

Please do note that nothing discussed in today’s episode constitutes advice from a healthcare professional. If you think you might be suffering from anxiety, or an anxiety disorder, please do contact your local GP, or visit mind.org.uk and anxietyuk.org.uk to get the help and support you need. 

The Little Drummer Girl https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bqs366

Informer https://www.bbc.co.uk/search?q=informer

There She Goes (all BBC iPlayer) https://www.bbc.co.uk/search?q=there+she+goes&sa_f=search-product&scope=

The Good Place on Netflix https://www.netflix.com/title/80113701

A Love Story for Bewildered Girls, by Emma Morgan (February 2019, pre-order now) https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/309/309817/a-love-story-for-bewildered-girls/9780241357767.html

Zoe Williams on William Sitwell's resignation: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/31/waitrose-editor-quits-vegan 

You're Booked with Daisy Buchanan: https://www.acast.com/booked 

Sheridan Smith interviewed for The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2018/nov/03/sheridan-smith-fell-apart-lost-my-mind-tom-lamont 

Morwenna Ferrier on the fashion in Killing Eve: 

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