Polly Samson was born in London in 1962. At the time her father was diplomatic correspondent for the Daily Worker. Lance Samson was originally from Hamburg but came to London in 1938 on the Kindertransport.
Her mother, Esther Cheo Ying, is the author of Black Country to Red China, a memoir that moves from Shanghai to Dr Barnardo's and back to China where she became a Major in Mao's Army.
A solitary child, Polly began writing and illustrating stories and poems from an early age. Eventually, after many attempts, a story about a lonely badger won a Blue Peter badge. It was the high point of her childhood.
In the seventies the family moved first to Cornwall, then Devon, where she was eventually asked to leave the sixth form of Newton Abbot Grammar School. She worked as a telex operator for a clay company and subsequently returned to London to work in publishing. At the age of twenty-four she was appointed Publicity Director of Jonathan Cape. In 1988 she met the writer Heathcote Williams and they had a son, Charlie, and moved to Cornwall.
She started a new career in journalism writing features for the Observer and the Sunday Times as well as weekly book reviews for the Daily Mail. For more than two years she wrote a weekly column for the Sunday Times. Her writing has also appeared in, amongst others, the Guardian, Harpers Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Tatler, the Daily Telegraph, Punch, the Sunday Times and Observer Magazines.
Her short stories have been published by the Observer, You Magazine, the Sunday Express Magazine and the Guardian Weekend magazine as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland.
In 1993 she co-wrote, with David Gilmour, the lyrics to seven tracks
on Pink Floyd's album
Polly Samson and David Gilmour married in 1994 and she became stepmother to Alice, Clare, Sara and Matthew. Their sons Joe and Gabriel were born in 1995 and 1997 and their daughter Romany in 2002.
Polly Samson's collection of short stories, Lying in Bed, was published
by Virago in April 1999 and was picked as a "Book of the Year" by
both Susan Hill and Cressida Connolly. Her first novel, Out of the
Picture, was published by Virago in April 2000 and was short-listed
for the Authors Club first novel award. She has contributed stories
to anthologies including Gas
and Air (Bloomsbury), Girls'
Night In (Harper Collins), Great
Escapes (Collins and Brown), A
Day in the Life (Transworld) and
In 2006 she again collaborated with David Gilmour and wrote lyrics for the album On An Island which went straight to number one in the UK and Europe, and reached the top ten in America. She also sang harmony vocals on one track and piano on another, and her appearance playing piano on the Jools Holland Show in 2008 was an experience, she says, almost as thrilling as getting that Blue Peter badge.
Polly Samson's new collection of stories, Perfect Lives, is published in hardback by Virago.