About Trying

Hello, I am Emma Barnett - an interviewer, broadcaster and journalist - usually found most weekdays at 10am in a radio studio, one hand clamped around a steaming hot tea and the other grasping for a chewed pen.

I am also trying. Aren’t we all?

Trying to live a good life;  trying to be a decent wife, mother, daughter, friend and colleague; trying to eat well; trying to move my body; trying to get enough sleep; trying to dance; trying to paint; trying to discover new music; and trying to book a holiday. Constantly and failing.

Oh. And I am also trying. That one. The one most women do not talk about while they are attempting to bring new life into the world. Afterwards? Sure. But during? No. Not so much.

I was that person four years ago when I spoke about mine and my husband’s difficulties in conceiving only after I had safely given birth to our son - following nearly three torrid years, which included a long overdue diagnosis of the debilitating menstrual condition endometriosis and a round of IVF.

You see history is written by the victors, even on the fertility battlefield. Stories about IVF are usually told by people like me, for whom it has worked. In public, the gruelling journey almost always leads to the happy arrival of a baby.

In the 18 months before launching this newsletter, I have been struggling with secondary infertility. I have had five rounds of IVF, one miscarriage and more internal examinations than I care to recall. There is still no second baby.

Casting my mind back, I used to read those stories of women who had been able to endure and afford six, seven, or eight rounds of IVF and think how on earth could they keep going? That question is front of mind as I potentially embark on what will be our 7th turn on the IVF merry-go-round. I never thought I would be amongst their ranks. And yet here I am.

Trying with Emma Barnett is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Why subscribe?

The act of ‘trying’ fascinates me more and more - the art of it, the concept and psychology of ‘trying’ - not just a few times but again and again and again… expecting, or at least hoping for, a different result.

That is why I am putting some of our trying experiences here. My writing here won’t only be about trying for a life; I will explore trying across life. What gets people back into the ring?  How do they know when to stop or carry on?

What are those things along the way that make the difference? What is more trying that it ought to be?

What is more trying than perhaps it ought to be?

I only hope that perhaps sharing my experiences may help someone else trying; failing and trying again, in whatever walk of life. And to learn from you too.

I am also looking forward to having a new space to write and share some of my thoughts that I can’t easily put elsewhere.

That’s why I hope you will join me and subscribe. As a broadcaster - there will also be audio posts too. How could there not?

Most of my content will be available for free but some parts will only be available to paying subscribers. Exactly what, is a work in a progress. I am trying things all of the time.

And only by trying, and trying again can we learn what works. I look forward to getting to know you and trying together. Week in, week out. Are you with me? I hope so.

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About Emma Barnett

Emma Barnett presents Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4, Monday to Thursday live at 10-11am. It is the longest-running women's show in the world. During Emma's time it has become the most downloaded programme across the BBC and she has been named Speech Broadcaster of the Year at the Radio Academy Awards and Interviewer of the Year at the British Journalism Awards 2022.

In 2021 Emma entered the US TV market launching a weekly interviews programme called Emma Barnett Meets... on Bloomberg via its streaming platform, Quicktake and international TV channel. Each episode features one high profile guest who sits down with Emma to share their vision.

Previously Emma presented The Emma Barnett Show on BBC Radio 5 Live, for five years. It was a fast-paced daily three-hour programme, during which she interviewed the key figures shaping our times, from the Prime Minister to those would very much like to be....but often her very favourite conversations were with her listeners. 

Until 2022, Emma presented the BBC's flagship current affairs TV programme Newsnight for three  highly eventful political years.

She has also fronted the BBC's election coverage - hosting the marathon eight-hour official radio election programme in 2019 and BBC Question Time - Under 30s Election 2019 - as well as The Andrew Marr Show; Politics LiveSunday Morning Live on BBC One;  Have I Got News for YouThe Pledge on Sky News and After the News on ITV.

Emma writes a weekend column for the i newspaper.

In September 2019 Emma published her first book, Period. It's About Bloody Time.  She loathes her period but there is something she loathes even more: not being able to talk about it. Freely, funnily and honestly.

Emma is a proud patron of Smartworks, a charity which helps economically disadvantaged women secure jobs through interview training and having the right outfit to make the best first impression. 

Originally from Manchester, she now lives in London with her husband and little boy.

Emma also posts via @emmabarnett on Twitter and Instagram.

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Essays, stories and advice from the frontlines of life


Interviewer, broadcaster and journalist. Presents BBC Woman's Hour and 'Emma Barnett Meets' on Bloomberg. Interviewer and Broadcaster of the Year - the Radio Academy and the British Journalism Awards. Twitter and Instagram: @emmabarnett.