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Katherine Ryan: ‘Being confident is not rude’

We brought a very special live episode of the Women’s Prize Podcast to a packed crowd at Latitude 2021. Comedian and author Katherine Ryan chatted to host Yomi Adegoke about the books by women that have most influenced her, read on for some of her choices.

They also discussed Katherine’s forthcoming book The Audacity, named for “the confidence that people find rude; a level of competence that people are taken aback by,” which she was inspired to write because “women are taught that you have to be quiet and small and simple.”

picture of How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

How To Be a Woman

How to Be a Woman is Caitlin Moran’s hilarious award-winning non-fiction memoir about what it is like to be a…

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“I was really lucky because I got to meet and work with Caitlin at the same time the book came out, and she exploded as a personality and as an author. The book had so much accessible feminism in it that I really understood. I felt like she was telling me empowering statements in the book and telling stories about her life. But also it was just really modern and really funny. And that’s the way to get to someone like me – it was the right way to inject big smart ideas, through humour.”


Once in a generation a woman comes along who changes everything. Tina Fey is not that woman, but she met…

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Bossy Pants resonated with me so much too, because Tina Fey, of course, is a comedian and a writer and a director. What I loved about it is that when I was younger, I imagined that successful people came out of nowhere. I just thought, Oh, she’s a famous, funny person. But she really talks a lot about her journey, being in Groundlings and doing stuff sketch comedy, and she wrote about body image in that book before we really spoke about it the zeitgeist.”

Yes Please

The New York Times number one bestseller from the Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation star. In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated memoir, Yes Please, she offers…

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“I think if you’re small, and that bothers you, you need to read Amy Poehler’s  Yes Please – she talks a lot about being like five foot one.

I love the books where I feel like oh, woman usually is talking to me like I’m her best friend, and that’s how I felt with Yes Please. I just want to hear what funny women have to say. So that was another reason I love this book.”

Open Book

This was supposed to be a very different book. Five years ago, Jessica Simpson was approached to write a motivational…

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“I think feminism was weird for us when we were growing up. We had hair coloured skin and skin coloured hair. And we had these belts that didn’t make sense. And we weren’t allowed pockets. And we had like pastel eye shadow and no eyebrows. Playboy was still really cool. And pop stars were amazing; Britney Spears was very famous and her virginity was fetishised and our place was changing, but it was still very retro. We had problematic messaging and we had problematic views. And we fell in love with a lot of these pop stars. And now they’re telling their stories….”

Buy your copy of The Audacity by Katherine Ryan here, published by Bonnier Books on 30 September.

You can buy all of Katherine’s choices via our Bookshop.org list here.

Remember to rate, review and subscribe to the Women’s Prize for Fiction Podcast in time for Season 4, which is launching in a few weeks’ time.

The Women's Prize Podcast

Tune into host Vick Hope and a line-up of incredible guests on our weekly podcast full of unmissable book recommendations.