Polly Samson

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Polly Samson
Born (1962-04-29) 29 April 1962 (age 58)
London, England
Notable work
Spouse(s)David Gilmour (m. 1994)
  • Charlie Gilmour
  • Joe Gilmour
  • Gabriel Gilmour
  • Romany Gilmour

Polly Samson (born 29 April 1962) is an English novelist, lyricist and journalist. She is married to musician David Gilmour, and has written the lyrics to many of Gilmour's works, both as a solo artist and with the group Pink Floyd.

Life and career[edit]

Samson's father was Lance Samson (died 4 February 2013[1]), a newspaper editor[1] and diplomatic correspondent for the Morning Star,[2] and her mother was a writer of Chinese descent, Esther Cheo Ying, who wrote a memoir, Black Country to Red China, about her time serving as a Major in Mao Zedong's Red Army.[3]

Following a troubled childhood, Samson joined the publishing industry, through which she met the writer Heathcote Williams, with whom she became romantically involved during the publication of his Whale Nation, Samson being responsible for publicising what she succeeded in turning into a best-selling volume despite its author's reluctance to promote his work.[4] With Williams she had her first son, Charlie.[5] Following his birth, Samson became homeless and was taken in for a period by the journalist Cassandra Jardine.[6]

After splitting from Williams, Samson met Pink Floyd singer and guitarist David Gilmour, whom she married in 1994 during Pink Floyd's Division Bell tour.[7] Her son Charlie was adopted by Gilmour[7] and they have three other children: Joe, Gabriel, and Romany.[3]

She has also written short stories for BBC Radio 4 and has had a collection published Lying in Bed (Virago 1999) and a novel, Out of the Picture (Virago 2000),[5] as well as contributing pieces and stories to many other books and publications including Gas and Air (Bloomsbury 2003), Girls Night In (Harper Collins 2000), A Day in the Life (Black Swan 2003), and The Just When Stories (Beautiful Books 2010). Samson's collection of stories, Perfect Lives, was published in November 2010 by Virago Press. Her novel, The Kindness, was published in 2015.[8]

Samson is credited as a co-writer on seven of The Division Bell's 11 tracks,[9] and, with the retrospective credit given to Clare Torry for her vocals on "The Great Gig in the Sky",[9] she is one of only two female co-writers of any Pink Floyd songs. She also wrote lyrics for Gilmour's 2006 album, On an Island,[9] and made a guest appearance on piano and vocals.[9] She contributed lyrics to "Louder than Words", the only track on Pink Floyd's 2014 release, The Endless River, to contain any sung lyrics.[10] Samson has also contributed lyrics to half of the tracks on Gilmour's latest album, Rattle That Lock (2015), some of which were inspired by Paradise Lost, an epic poem by John Milton.

In 2018, Samson was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[11]

Samson's novel, A Theatre For Dreamers, was published on 2 April 2020 by Bloomsbury Circus.[12] The novel entered the Sunday Times Bestsellers Chart at number two.[13]


  • Lying in Bed – Virago Press Ltd, 2000; ISBN 1-86049-667-9
  • Out of the Picture – Virago Press Ltd, 2001; ISBN 1-86049-864-7
  • Perfect Lives – Virago Press Ltd, 2010; ISBN 1-86049-992-9
  • The Kindness – Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015; ISBN 978-1632860675
  • A Theatre For Dreamers – Bloomsbury Circus, 2020; ISBN 978-1526600554


  1. ^ a b "Twitter". Mobile.twitter.com. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Twitter". Mobile.twitter.com. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Polly Samson - About - Official Website". pollysamson.com.
  4. ^ "'Please don't call me Mrs Gilmour'". The Guardian. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  5. ^ a b Drennan, John (11 June 2000). "Samson's delight". Irish Independent. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  6. ^ Polly Samson, et al "Cassandra Jardine: your friends and colleagues will all miss you", telegraph.co.uk, 29 May 2012.
  7. ^ a b Cassandra Jardine "My fear for the Charlie I know", telegraph.co.uk, 19 July 2011.
  8. ^ The Kindness, Amazon; accessed 24 October 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d Mabbett, Andy (2010). Pink Floyd - The Music and the Mystery. London: Omnibus. ISBN 978-1-84938-370-7.
  10. ^ Greene, Andy (22 September 2014). "Pink Floyd Roll Out Plans For 'The Endless River', their first LP in 20 Years". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Royal Society of Literature » Polly Samson". rsliterature.org.
  12. ^ "Theatre for Dreamers". Bloomsbury Publishing.
  13. ^ "We're thrilled Polly Samson's #ATheatreForDreamers has reached #2 on the Sunday Times bestseller chart!". Twitter.

External links[edit]