Welcome to Tea & Tattle Podcast.

I'm your host, Miranda Mills. Join me every Tuesday for weekly discussions on culture, books, creativity and wellbeing, as well as interviews with inspiring women.

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61 | A Chat With Fiona Sampson

61 | A Chat With Fiona Sampson


Listen to Episode 61: A Chat With Fiona Sampson

Also Available on iTunes

Episode Summary

Today on Tea & Tattle podcast, I'm joined by the award winning poet and writer, Fiona Sampson. Fiona’s works have been published in over thirty languages, and she received an MBE for services to literature. As well as being a huge admirer of Fiona's beautiful poetry, I recently read her new biography, In Search of Mary Shelley.


2018 marks 200 years since Mary Shelley's famous novel, Frankenstein, was first published, and Fiona's fascinating biography particularly examines Mary's early years, drawing a picture of how such a young girl could produce such an extraordinary novel (Mary was only 19 when she wrote Frankenstein).

Fiona Sampson, photography by Ekaterina Voskresenskaya

Fiona Sampson, photography by Ekaterina Voskresenskaya

In our conversation today, Fiona tells the story of how an evening spent swapping ghost stories with Byron kindled the idea for Frankenstein, and we also discuss the impact Mary's relationship with the poet Percy Shelley had on her life and writing.

Listen to learn more about the life of Mary Shelley and the lasting legacy of Frankenstein.

Episode Breakdown

  • 00:25 - Miranda introduces Fiona Sampson.
  • 02:14 - What first sparked Fiona's love for poetry and writing.
  • 04:11 - The connection between music and poetry.
  • 07:07 - How Fiona came to write a biography of Mary Shelley.
  • 10:34 - Fiona reads an extract from her book.
  • 18:13 - How Mary's sense of having a literacy legacy prompted her to write.
  • 21:47 - Mary's elopement with Percy Shelley.
  • 26:02 - What kindled the idea for Frankenstein.
  • 32:13 - How Percy's death affected Mary's literary career.
  • 35:37 - Whether Mary came to regret the radical choices she made in her youth.
  • 39:47 - Fiona discusses how Frankenstein is relevant for the modern reader.
  • 41:32 - What's next for Fiona.

Episode Links

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Tweet: 'I found her an enormously sympathetic figure' ~ @FionaRSampson discusses the life of #MaryShelley on #TeaAndTattlePodcast: http://bit.ly/2BILkR9

I found her an enormously sympathetic figure.

 -Fiona Sampson

Your Thoughts

Thank you so much for listening and being a part of Tea & Tattle podcast. As always, I love to hear your thoughts, so please let me know:

What did you enjoy most about this episode? Are you interested in learning more about Mary Shelley?

Next Time...

Remember to tune in on Friday for the next instalment of Tea Reads, and next Tuesday, Sophie and I are getting into the Valentine spirit and chatting about our favourite fictional literary couples.

Happy Listening!

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