Cate Sampson

Also writes as Catherine Sampson

Young adults' author, Author of books for adults

Available for:
After dinner speaking



Adults, 8-11 (Key stage 2), 11-13 (Key stage 3), 14-16 (Key stage 4), 11-16 (Key stages 3 and 4), 6th Form and college


I have written crime novels for both adults and young adults, and I'm always happy to make visits to schools to talk about my books and my inspiration. I'm also happy to talk about my experience as a journalist and author in China, where I have lived for much of my adult life. I would be happy to accept invitations to talk to a History class or a Mandarin class about modern Chinese history and society.

I really enjoy running creative writing workshops for all age groups, and I believe that even if you're not going to become a professional writer, creating fiction is a wonderful way to re-energise your imagination. That's something that's needed in every area of life. .

I've run workshops for adults and for children. The approach, of course, is different. Adults enjoy the autobiographical side of writing, I find. And they often delight in turning their everyday lives into mysteries or thrillers in the course of a workshop. They may feel their imaginations are a little creaky, but they rapidly get back in gear..

Children love to engage, and to let their imaginations run riot, and I see my role as helping them to learn how to shape that riotous expression. I use props, in the form of pictures or objects, to help spark their creativity, but in children that is not hard. 

I have been interviewed many times on radio about my books. My first YA crime novel, Carnaby, was The Times children's book of the week and The Sunday Times children's book of the week on publication.

Two of my books, The Pool of Unease and The Slaughter Pavilion, were written and are set in China, where I used to live, and where I was a foreign correspondent for The Times newspaper in the early 1990s. I lived in China until just two years ago. Although the China crime novels are written for a general audience rather than a YA audience, they are appropriate reading for teens. I am happy to come into school where students are studying GCSE or A Level Chinese, or Modern Chinese History, to talk about the books and their background in the contemporary politics and society of China.

Splintered Light (isbn:978-1471115837)
Three teenagers investigate a murder that happened twelve years before, scarring their lives forever
View in Amazon
Carnaby (isbn:978-1471115813)
When Sarah's mother is murdered, Sarah doesn't know who to trust. Then she becomes a suspect too.
View in Amazon
The Slaughter Pavilion (isbn:978-0230014442)
Detective Song Ren investigates the death and corruption that are the dark underbelly of Beijing's economic miracle.
View in Amazon
The Pool of Unease (isbn:978-0230014435)
Journalist Robin Ballantyne flies to Beijing to report on the death of a British businessman, and is drawn into a tale of dark political intrigue.
View in Amazon
Out of Mind (isbn:978-0330420211)
Journalist Robin Ballantyne investigates the disappearance of a war correspondent
View in Amazon
Falling Off Air (isbn:978-0330420198)
Journalist Robin Ballantyne investigates the death of her neighbour, a politician who fell from her window onto the street outside Robin's apartment
View in Amazon
Society of Authors, Society of Children's Writers and Book Illustrators, Children's Writers and Illustrators of South London

Other search criteria:


Book Type:
Fiction for adults, Young Adult

crime, mystery, thrillers, journalism, China, Beijing