Many of us believe it’s always wrong, and bad for us, to hold a grudge. But what if our grudges, when handled correctly, can be positively good for us and for others?

What if grudges are actually great — not a cause for guilt, but exactly what we need to lead a happier, safer, more fulfilled life? Join me and special guests to find out all about the power of grudges to transform your life for the better and to make the world a more peaceful and compassionate place.


Episode #1 : The Blip

If someone has done or said something grudgeworthy, but it’s the only grudgeworthy thing they’ve ever done, should we always let them off and treat is as a mere blip? Is it possible to sustain long friendships and relationships in which no grudgeworthy behaviour occurs? Should everyone get at least one ‘get out of grudge free’ card? And how relevant are patterns of behaviour and track record when assessing the grudgeworthiness or otherwise of a particular action? Sophie talks to psychotherapist Helen Acton about a recent ‘blipping’ involving an otherwise lovely close friend — should she hold a grudge or not?

Airs 7th November 2019

Episode #2 : The Mitigating Spouse

Is it grudgeworthy if someone has a terrible spouse, even if they themselves are completely innocent? Why aren’t more people alert to the grudgeworthiness of their romantic partners? Sophie is joined by this podcast’s Grudge-Poet Laureate Nic Aubury to discuss what to do when you have a close friend whom you adore, yet you can’t visit them at their house because it contains one of the grudgeworthiest husbands known to humanity (or at least to Sophie).

Airs 14th November 2019

Episode #3 : The Emoji

If you share a piece of life-changingly amazing good news with a close friend, lover, parent or sibling, and they respond simply with one yellow smiley face emoji and no words at all, is that innately grudgeworthy? Could and should they have done better? Is a diagnosis of envy any sort of mitigation? Or are you the one guilty of  grudgeworthy behaviour in that scenario — for failing to take the happy emoji at smiley-face value? Sophie and psychotherapist Helen Acton discuss The Inadequate Congratulations Grudge and its sister type, The Withholding of Praise Grudge, and discuss the teachings of American life coach Brooke Castillo, who believes  all circumstances are neutral and that we can always choose what we want to make them mean.

Airs 21st November 2019

Episode #4 : BACK to school

Sophie is joined by this podcast’s poet in residence Nic Aubury, who is also a Latin teacher at Oundle School. Together they discuss more shocking and frankly implausible (though entirely true) school-based grudge anecdotes, and whether all schools should be abolished for being too grudgeworthy. Also: when teachers lose their temper and yell and scream at pupils, or announce their intention to humiliate children deliberately, is this understandable and something that’s just bound to happen now and then, or is it grudgeworthy? And what’s the point of having ‘best practice guidelines’ when teachers who ignore them receive no punishment or sanction?

Airs 28th November 2019

Episode #5 : The Direct Approach

In a friendship, is it acceptable and necessary sometimes, or uncharitable and grudgeworthy, to say ‘You did X and I didn’t like it’ or ‘I’m angry with you because you said Y’? Sophie is joined by psychotherapist Helen Acton  for much jolly disagreement on this subject. Why would Sophie never in a million years tell friends, family, acquaintances or anyone that they’d upset or annoyed her? And why does Helen adopt the opposite approach? Is it just down to personal preference or is there a better way to approach these things? Listen and decide for yourself!

Airs 5th December 2019

Episode #6 : Grudges, Boundaries & The Manual

Sophie and Podcast Grudge-Poet Laureate Nic Aubury discuss those grudges that we might not need to hold if only we were better at creating and sticking to personal boundaries. If we’re so busy people-pleasing that we allow ourselves to do things we hate in order to placate others, isn’t that our fault rather than theirs? Also in this episode: what does American life coach Brooke Castillo have to say about boundaries and the ‘manuals’ we have in our minds for how other people should behave, and do Sophie and Nic agree with her?

Airs 12th December 2019

Episode #7 : The Messenger

We all know messengers sometimes get shot. When is telling — passing on an unwelcome or upsetting message — grudgeworthy, and when is it worse to withhold or hide information in order to spare someone’s feelings? If you know that a close friend’s partner is cheating on them, should you tell them? Sophie and psychotherapist Helen Acton debate the moral ramifications of being the messenger, and discuss whether Sophie was right or wrong to say nothing about a vicious and vitriolic email she recently received from the angry mother of a teenage girl…

Airs 19th December 2019

Episode #8 : The Newcomer

There’s always room for a newcomer — a new grudge type — in the Periodic Table of Grudge Categories. After a new TV crime drama attracts hundreds of comments that strike fear into Sophie’s heart, she tries to find a name for this emerging grudge in order to classify it accurately. Also in this episode, Sophie plays a newly invented grudge game, Judge That Grudge, with poet Nic Aubury and psychotherapist Helen Acton. Grudge types receiving judgemental scrutiny include: people turning up on time instead of realising you’d love it if they were a bit late, and passive aggressive CC-ing of senior colleagues into work emails.

Airs 26th December 2019

Episode #9 : Against my Better Grudgement

Being judgemental is bad, we tend to think, but using our judgement is essential. So how do we distinguish between good judging and bad judging? Having a lower opinion of some people than others has to be okay, surely, even if one’s aim and wish is to be all-forgiving and grudge-free. Sophie and Helen Acton discuss the ways in which our own ethics and opinions in relation to infidelity and meat-eating, among other things, can influence how lenient/empathetic we’re able to be where those issues are involved.

Airs 2nd January 2020

Episode #9b : The Cultural Artifact

Sophie is joined by award-winning, bestselling novelist Naomi Alderman for this special bonus episode. They discuss the popular misconceptions that give rise to that widespread phenomemon, the Misunderstanding-of-Loyalty Grudge, and what loyalty truly means in a grudge-holding context. Also in this episode: when couples separate and friends pick a grudge side, why it’s always grudgeworthy to write insulting blog posts about your best friends, and a grudgey dilemma involving a potentially devastating but brilliant cultural artefact.

Episode #10 : Dame Agatha's Grudges

Sophie is joined by psychotherapist and fellow Agatha Christie superfan Helen Acton to discuss grudges— valid/reasonable and invalid/unreasonable — in the novels of Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime. Also in this  episode: the beauty of three-layered puzzle solutions, the Insufficient Poirot Content grudge some fans have about novels like Cat Among the Pigeons and After the Funeral, and Sophie reveals her grudge-related theory about why Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None are Agatha’s two most popular and beloved books.

Airs 9th January 2020


Episode #1 : The Grunch and Grudge Exemptions

Sophie and this podcast’s Grudge Poet Laureate, Nic Aubury, discuss ‘grunches’ (grudge hunches) and whether they’re ever legitimate. Also in this episode: our need for grudge allies, and why we make some people we love ‘grudge-exempt’. What should the rules for grudge exemption be in order to avoid hypocrisy?

Aired 14th March 2019

Episode #2 : Criticisms Are Not Grudgeworthy

Sophie is joined by writer and critic Robert Hanks for a debate about the proper definition of the word grudge. Is some terrible behaviour too extreme to be called grudgeworthy, and can a remembered story accurately be called a grudge if there are no feelings of anger or resentment attached to it?

Aired 21st March 2019

Episode #3 : The Energy of Grudges

Sophie discusses the possibilities for a comprehensive grudge-classification system with librarian and cataloguing expert Anne Welsh. Also in this episode: what emotional energy is attached to holding grudges? How can processing a grudge help us to transform our negative emotions into positive energy, and can the intellectual process of creating a grudge lead to greater objectivity?

Aired 28th March 2019

Episode #4 : Forgiving, Not Forgetting

Sophie is joined by mindfulness teacher and self-help author Sylvia Clare to discuss forgiveness, apologies and the problem of sincerity. When should we forgive and should we ever forget? How does our personal history influence our approach to grudges and matters of trust, and how should we deal with grudgeworthy behaviour in our closest relationships?

Aired 4th April 2019

Episode #5 : School For Grudges

Grudge Poet Laureate of this podcast, Nic Aubury (who is also a Latin teacher at Oundle School) returns to discuss school-based grudges. Sophie and Nic explore various grudges from the points of view of parent, pupil and teacher, and consider the reasons why schools seems to be such a hot-bed of grudgeworthy behaviour.

Aired 11th April 2019

Episode #6 : Turn The Other Cheek

Sophie is joined by the Reverend Stephen Heard to discuss a Christian perspective on grudges and forgiveness. Is it okay for a Christian to hold a grudge? What might Jesus’s approach to grudges be, and what does the church teach us about reacting to injury?

Aired 18th April 2019


Sophie and therapist Anne Grey delve deep into the psychology of grudges, exploring the positive role empathy has to play in their processing.  Also in this episode: how accepting that everyone has their own ‘truth’ or version of events can lead to greater harmony.

Aired 25th April 2019


In this ‘solocast’ Sophie discusses how defining events as ‘grudgeworthy’ rather than ‘annoying’ can free us from the implicit invitation to feel terrible in response to other people’s bad behaviour. Also in this episode: why yelling should be regarded as a grudgeworthy practice whenever and wherever it occurs.

Aired 2nd May 2019


Sophie and Anne Grey explore our perceptions of intent and the limits of our ability to know another person’s motives. Also in this episode: should we ever raise our grudges with those who have upset us? When does honesty tip over into an attempt to control?

Aired 9th May 2019


Sophie and the How To Hold A Grudge podcast’s Poet Laureate, Nic Aubury, discuss the fraught topic of wills and tell some specific inheritance-related grudge tales. Also in this episode, Sophie and Nic analyse why it’s so difficult to separate the financial from the emotional when different people’s definitions of ‘fair’ are at odds.

Aired 16th May 2019


Episode #1 : Grudges can be great

In this first episode, I explain what made me – a crime writer and poet – decide I had to write a self-help book on the subject of grudges. I’ll be talking about why I’m firmly convinced that our grudges can and should be good for us. I’ll explain how, precisely, we can benefit from our grudges, and I’ll be joined by special guests psychotherapist Helen Acton and mentor, coach, meditation teacher and therapist Anne Grey, to discuss grudges in all their glory.

Aired 25th October 2018


This week, I’m talking about why a grudge is not, and cannot be, a feeling. And if it isn’t a feeling, then why do nearly all the available dictionary definitions tell us that it is? What would be a more accurate and helpful definition of the word ‘grudge’ that doesn’t discourage us from holding them? Also in this episode: some brilliant grudge poems by my two favourite living poets: Wendy Cope and Nic Aubury.

Aired 1st November 2018


When we describe our latest grudge to a friend, they might say something designed to try and cheer us up. How we’re likely to feel about their intervention will depend on whether they’re sugar-coating or offering us something genuinely positive. In this episode, I’ll be looking at the differences between the two approaches, and how to distinguish one from the other. Join me, Helen Acton and Anne Grey as we discuss how to embrace but not inflame negative feelings.

Aired 8th November 2018


This week, I’m doing some in-depth analysis of the various grudge types. How many different grudge species are there, and how should we classify and arrange them? I’m going to look at some everyday varieties and also some rare specimens. Join me to see if you can think of any sub-genres of grudge that I’ve not yet identified!

Aired 15th November 2018


Holding grudges is perceived by almost everybody as the opposite of forgiving. You either forgive and move on, or else you don’t forgive and you hold a grudge instead, right? Wrong. In this episode, I explain why holding grudges, as a practice, is precisely what you should be doing if you want to become a more forgiving person and enhance your ability to move on after a transgression or hurt.

Aired 22nd November 2018


This week I’m joined by Helen Acton and Anne Grey. We’ll be discussing the relationship between grudges, justice and karma. Is karma a real thing, and, if it is, does that mean that the universe holds grudges, and cares about justice?

Aired 29th November 2018


This week, I’m talking about ‘about’. I believe we should always say we have a grudge ‘about’ somebody, not a grudge ‘against’ somebody, and I explain why the language we use around grudges matters. Also: can our grudgees benefit from the grudges we have about them?

Aired 6th December 2018


Still not convinced that grudges are great or that holding them is good for you? Join me this week to find out six concrete ways in which a grudge can enhance the life of its holder!

Aired 13th December 2018


Since I started this podcast, listeners have been sending in their thoughts and questions. This week’s episode is devoted entirely to answering those questions and responding to issued raised. These include: ‘Is it ever okay to tell someone that you don’t believe their grudge is justified/grudgeworthy?’ and ‘Why do some people hold more grudges than others?’

Aired 20th December


It’s the holiday season! Grudges abound! Join me and poet Nic Aubury for a festive analysis of why we’re more likely to accumulate powerful grudges during ‘special occasion’ times of year than at any other time. Also, I’ll be giving you my list of Seasonal Grudge Tips and New Year’s Grudge Resolutions!

Aired 27th December

There is no one — not one single person on earth — to whom I wouldn’t give a second chance. I also have more grudges than anyone I know, and a greater interest in and appetite for them. These two statements do not contradict each other. They fit together perfectly once you understand that holding grudges is the ideal route to being a more forgiving and happier person.

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