In Susan Calman’s first book, Cheer Up Love, the popular comedian opens up about the trials and tribulations of living with depression or, as Calman calls it, ‘the crab of hate.’ It is a wise and wonderful book for anyone who has lived with, or knows someone who has lived with, depression. Now, after a triumphant run on Strictly Come Dancing propelling her into the public eye, and a successful podcast (Mrs Brightside), Calman has written a new book, Sunny Side Up, this time exploring her experiences of kindness and joy and why we should all try and be a bit more kind and find a bit more joy in the every day.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival event is sold-out for this inspirational woman who went on her own joyous journey in front of the nation while competing on Strictly. Audiences loved watching Calman grow and develop on the hit show and she fights back tears as she describes learning to be kinder to herself through dance: “For starters I started looking in mirrors, which I never did before.”
She is funny, eloquent and charismatic as she talks about her books, her life and her future and while explaining that most people don’t wake up and tell themselves they are amazing to start the day the audience are internally screaming that she should, so engaging and inspiring is her story.
The final words with host Lee Randall are reserved for her new book as Calman speaks about the importance of kindness and being joyful and encourages everyone to seek joy in small things (like watching an Agatha Christie with a cat on your knee). It is an important and simple way society can fight back against the negativity in the world: “If something brings you joy – apart from taking joy in other people failing – just go for it. We can ignore the people who say we’re all horrible, racist and nasty. We’re not; let’s do it ourselves and sod the lot of them.”