Comedian Sara Shares Her Story About ‘Weirdo’ Sophie

Henley Literary Festival 2023 opened with a one-off event on Wednesday evening at the Christ Church Centre with award-winning comedian, writer and actor Sara Pascoe coming to talk about her first novel, Weirdo.

Sara is heavily pregnant with her second son and was probably booked this week because she’s probably due shortly before the main Festival kicks off next Saturday (30 September).

Weirdo follows Sophie; a seriously anxious 30 year old who is working hard to be happy in her own skin.  She’s struggling to conform to the kinds of relationships and responsibilities that others make look so easy.   Sara explained, “Initially I wanted to write a murder book but it just didn’t happen” and joked “I wanted to have a real character that had haemorrhoids and cystitis.”  Writing non-fiction for the first time Sara commented, “I was told fiction is easier.  Non fiction you worry everything has to be correct.  You have creativity like you have in primary school where you let the character take the lead.  I started writing it when I had a new born and I wrote things with no filter.  I went off on tangents but luckily my editors helped with this.”

Sara talked about the sex scene in the book which see’s Sophie having awful sex in a grim flat on a laden-filled crumb-covered sheet and doesn’t know how to stop it without it becoming embarrassing.  Sara then recounted about having sex at Sophie’s age and saying “We used to fake deaths during sex to see if they liked you and we learned how to fake orgasms realistically when I was young.”  She also told the audience, “I don’t think you should just sex education from your Mum!”

With many pressures now to succeed early in life, Sara’s advice is not to “peak too early” and there’s “plenty of time in life”.  She’s been offered many opportunities and was asked about her thoughts of becoming a politician in her 50s.  Sara replied, “I think politicians should do stand-up rather than study economics.  I would be so scared of the hatred and failing people.  I think my party name would be ‘Two Things Can be True at the Same Time’.  I think we need to get actors to play politicians whilst the actual politicians do the work behind the scenes.”

Asked about juggling her career with young children, Sara exclaimed, “I was really naive. I saw by son as load of bread who I could take to engagements.  I took him to the Sewing Bee for 13 hours (sewing takes f******* ages!)

For full details of this year’s Henley Literary Festival programme go to

For full details of this year’s Henley Literary Festival programme go to

Photo credit: Scarlet Page



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