Inside the Writer’s Head: Fiona Sampson

Written by Joe Armstrong, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library

Our 2023 Writer-in-Residence, Manuel Iris, is a poet, essayist, and teacher. Attend his upcoming workshops and writers' office hours. And, listen to him as host of CHPL's "Inside the Writer's Head" podcast.

In the final episode of this season of "Inside the Writer's Head," Manuel Iris interviews renowned British poet and writer Fiona Sampson. They discuss how Sampson's musical background informs her writing, how poetry challenges us to read differently, the secret coherence that often arises in poems, and more.

About Fiona Sampson

Fiona Sampson is a leading British poet and writer. Published in thirty-eight languages, she has published twenty-nine books. National honors include an MBE for services to literature, the Newdigate and Cholmondeley prizes, numerous awards from the Arts Councils of England and of Wales, Society of Authors, Poetry Book Society and Arts and Humanities Research Council, and Book of the Year selections. She has been a finalist for the T.S. Eliot and Forward Prizes multiple times. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, of the British Trust for Literary Romanticism, of the English Association, and formerly of the Royal Society of Arts. Alongside international poetry prizes in the US, Bosnia, India, and North Macedonia, she recently received the 2019 Naim Frashëri Laureateship, the 2020 European Lyric Atlas Prize, and, for Come Down, Wales Poetry Book of the Year 2021.

Her studies of writing process include "Beyond the Lyric" and "Lyric Cousins: Poetry and Musical Form." She edited Percy Bysshe Shelley for the Faber Poet to Poet series, and her "Limestone Country" was a Guardian nature writing book of the year. A prolific critic, librettist, broadcaster, and literary translator, from 2005-12 she edited Poetry Review, and she has served internationally on the boards of publishing houses and literary NGOs, on literary juries, and on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature. She’s a Trustee of the Royal Literary Fund and Emeritus Professor of Poetry, University of Roehampton. "Two-way Mirror" follows her internationally acclaimed "In Search of Mary Shelley," a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Washington Post Book of the Year, a finalist for the international 2022 Plutarch Prize and the PEN Jacqueline Bograd Weld international award for biography. She is at work on new biographies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and George Sand for Princeton University Press and W.W. Norton.

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