The Brit Lit Blog

News and views from the world of British books and publishing

Brit Lit Podcast

Brit Lit Podcast, episode 26: Dark Undercurrents of Everyday Life, with Charlotte Duckworth

Charlotte Duckworth’s novel The Rival came out earlier this month in the UK and is also available in the US in ebook format. The Rival is a psychological suspense about ambition, female rivalry, and how far you’d go to get what you want. Ashley comes to work for Helena at a London-based cosmetics company, and is determined to claw her way to the top through a mix of hard work and conniving cattines. We also flash forward to find that Helena, some time later, has lost everything: her job and her baby, and that she blames Ashley for all of it. So what happened in between, and is it really Ashley’s fault?

I spoke to Charlotte Duckworth about her long journey as a writer, her novel and its themes, such as how motherhood changes a woman and often rocks her sense of identity, and about how that plays out against the backdrop of work.

You can listen to the episode here,

or Spotify, or iTunes,

or wherever else you get your podcasts.

Books Mentioned on the Podcast:

The Rival, by Charlotte Duckworth

Our Kind of Cruelty, by Araminta Hall

No Further Questions,by Gillian McAllister

Rosie Loves Jack, by Mel Darbon

Help Me!: One Woman’s Quest to Find Out if Self-Help Really Can Change Her Life, by Marianne Power

Dear Mr Pop Star, by Derek and Dave Philpott

The Good Guys: 50 Heroes Who Changed the World with Kindness, by Rob Kemp

Unscripted, by Claire Handscombe

(A note on my book links: they usually take you to Amazon, and I get a few pence per sale at no extra cost to you if you click them and buy from there, which will help me make this podcast viable long-term. But better than Amazon, who are, let’s be honest, not the greatest, is Blackwells or Waterstones, or, even better, your local independent bookshop. If you live in the US or elsewhere further afield, you can find UK books at Book Depository (also owned by Amazon) at a good price and with no postage cost, or sometimes at, or you can buy them from Amazon US, or, even better, an independent bookshop.)


Pregnant Then Screwed offers support for women who have faced maternity of pregnancy discrimation.

The Faber Academy’s Writing a Novel course is a comprehensive six-month writing course for the serious writer, with access to some of the biggest names in publishing.

Support Claire on Patreon to get bonus content and personalised book recommendations.

Buy Brit Lit Podcast merch to show your love for your podcast and help support it.

Pre-order Claire’s novel, Unscripted, help make the book happen, and get rewards too.

For daily news and views from British books and publishing, follow the Brit Lit Blog.

Questions? Comments? Need a book recommendation? Email Claire at


The Brit Lit Podcast

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