Catherine Sampson

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Catherine Sampson is a British writer of crime/thriller fiction. Her first four novels were published by Pan Macmillan.[1] She has also worked as a foreign correspondent for The Times and other publications.


Sampson was born in 1962[2] in Swindon, England.[3] She studied Chinese at Leeds University where she graduated with a BA in 1984.[4] She then studied at Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar.[5] After working for the BBC in London she was assigned by The Times to Beijing in 1988.[6] As the newspaper's China correspondent, Sampson covered the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[7] She also worked as a freelance journalist during the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997[8] before beginning her literary career in London. Since 2001 she has been based again in Beijing.[9] Sampson's first novel, Falling Off Air, was published in 2004. She is married to James Miles, a foreign correspondent of The Economist.[10]


The heroine of Sampson's early books was Robin Ballantyne, a British TV journalist working for "the Corporation" (possibly a veiled reference to the BBC,[11] for which Sampson herself had once worked, and which was also her husband's employer during the 1980s and 90s[12][13]). In Falling Off Air (2004),[14] Ballantyne witnesses the death of a celebrity neighbour and gradually discovers how it mysteriously relates to her own professional and private world.[15] In Out of Mind (2005), Ballantyne goes in search of a missing camerawoman, and becomes embroiled in "Corporation" intrigues. Ballantyne is less central to the action in Sampson's third novel, The Pool of Unease (2007), in which she shares the main role with Song Ren, a private detective.[16][17] Both are trying to unravel the murder of a British man in Beijing. In the fourth novel, The Slaughter Pavilion (2008), Ballantyne is mentioned only briefly and Song becomes the protagonist.[18] His investigations explore the gritty and lawless world of rural China.[19]


Other fiction[edit]

Hit and Run in Beijing: Portrait of a City (2008) ISBN 962-217-803-0[20]


  1. ^ [1] Pan Macmillan website. Retrieved 29 Jan 2011][dead link]
  2. ^ Catherine Sampson Fantastic Fiction website. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  3. ^ author profile. Shanghai International Literary Festival, March 2008. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  4. ^ In for the kill". Time Out Hong Kong, Dec 2008. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  5. ^ Profile on Battle of Ideas website, UK. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  6. ^ Catherine Sampson. The Guardian, UK. Retrieved 29 January 2011
  7. ^ [2] The Times, 3 June 1989. Reprinted 3 June 2009. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011 (subscription)
  8. ^ "Perfectly Suited Where To Get Your Clothes Tailor-Made In Hong Kong". Fortune, Feb 1997. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  9. ^ Profile Beijing Bookworm. Retrieved 29 Jan 2011
  10. ^ Biography. Beijing Literary Festival, 2009. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  11. ^ "The Pool of Unease by Catherine Sampson". Tangled Books, Sept 2007. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  12. ^ "The Lost Voices of Tiananmen". BBC World Service, May 2009. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  13. ^ China Global Speakers website. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  14. ^ Fantastic Fiction website. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  15. ^ "Falling Off Air". Fantastic Fiction. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  16. ^ China Culture Center website, Beijing. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  17. ^ "Media Talk: Has western coverage of the China story become stale and cliched?". Carrie Gracie with Catherine Sampson at Frontline Club, London. August 2007. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  18. ^ Reviewing the Evidence website. Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  19. ^ Matthew Lewin (20 September 2008) "The Slaughter Pavilion". The Guardian, Retrieved 30 Jan 2011
  20. ^ Odyssey Books website. Retrieved 29 Jan 2011

External links[edit]