Perfect Lives

photo by betacam

Perfect Lives

with Polly Samson and Alison MacLeod

~ ~ ~

Recorded at the 2011 Small Wonder Festival
at Charleston House, East Sussex


Join Alison MacLeod in conversation with Asham judge Polly Samson as they discuss the themes, poignancy and quiet revelations of Samson’s latest short story collection, Perfect Lives.


Perfect Lives is Polly Samson’s second collection and was featured as the BBC’s Book at Bedtime, in November 2011. She published her first collection of short stories, Lying in Bed, in 1999 and her first novel, Out of the Picture, the following year. Her work has appeared in anthologies including Gas and Air, Girls’ Night In, Great Escapes, A Day in the Life and The Just When Stories. In 2007, she was a judge for the Costa Book of the Year and in 2010 she was a judge of the Asham Short Story award. Her short stories have been published by numerous magazines and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland.

Here, Polly Samson reads from two stories in the Perfect Lives collection: ‘The Egg’ and ‘Morganna’.


Alison MacLeod is a novelist and short story writer. Her short stories have been published widely — by Prospect, London Magazine, Bloomsbury, Virago, Serpent’s Tail. They have also featured on BBC Radio 3 and 4. Her story collection Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction (Penguin) was ‘highly recommended’ by Time Out and deemed by the Guardian to be ‘as inventive as it is original’. In 2008, her story ‘Dirty Weekend’ won the Society of Authors’ Short Fiction Award. In 2011, she was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award for her story ‘The Heart of Denis Noble’ while in 2012, the same story was longlisted for The International Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.

She is currently completing her next short story collection, and her third novel, Unexploded, will be published by Penguin in April 2013. She is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester.


Listen to

Perfect Lives

(1 hour, 7 minutes)

With thanks to the organisers of the Small Wonder Festival for their permission to publish this recording.


Photo of Polly Samson by Charlie Hopkinson
Photo of Alison MacLeod by Halifax Headshots Photography

About the author

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1 Response to "Perfect Lives"

  • Kate Prudchenko 03:44 AM 31/7/2012

    What a wonderful podcast. Thank you for sharing.

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