Main content

Samantha Power

Samantha Power, author and former US ambassador to the UN, shares the eight tracks, book and luxury she would take with her if cast away to a desert island. With Lauren Laverne.

Samantha Power was the USA's youngest ever ambassador to the UN, during President Barack Obama’s second term, and is a writer and academic. She has just been invited to join president-elect Joe Biden's administration.

Samantha was born in London but grew up in Ireland. At the age of nine, she moved to the US with her mother and younger brother following the breakdown of her parents’ marriage.

Her first ambition was to be a sports broadcaster, but watching live footage of events in Tiananmen Square in 1989 led her to change course and she became a war correspondent instead, reporting on the conflict in Bosnia in the early 1990s. After returning to the US, she wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning book in which she examined what she saw as America’s repeated reluctance to confront genocide in the 20th century.

In 2013 she was appointed ambassador to the UN. She stepped down in 2017 and became professor of global leadership, public policy and human rights at Harvard. Shortly after this edition of Desert Island Discs was recorded, she accepted the role of Administrator of the US Agency for International Development.

DISC ONE: Dancing Queen by ABBA
DISC TWO: Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens
DISC THREE: Thousands Are Sailing by The Pogues
DISC FOUR: Crazy by Seal
DISC FIVE: Boots of Spanish Leather by Mandolin Orange
DISC SIX: Why? (The King of Love is Dead) by Nina Simone
DISC SEVEN: Tonight Will Be Fine by Teddy Thompson
DISC EIGHT: A Million Years by Alexander

LUXURY ITEM: The Irish Times Book of Favourite Irish Poems by Colm Tóibín
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Tonight Will Be Fine by Teddy Thompson

Presenter Lauren Laverne
Producer Paula McGinley

Available now

35 minutes

Last on

Fri 22 Jan 2021 09:00

Music Played

  • ABBA

    Dancing Queen

    • Gold: Greatest Hits.
    • Polydor Limited.
    • 1.
  • Cat Stevens

    Morning Has Broken

    • Cat Stevens: Greatest Hits.
    • Universal-Island Records Limited.
    • 11.
  • The Pogues

    Thousands Are Sailing

    • If I Should Fall From Grace With God.
    • Warner Music UK Limited.
    • 6.
  • Seal


    • Seal.
    • Warner Music UK Limited.
    • 3.
  • Mandolin Orange

    Boots of Spanish Leather

    • Cover Charge: NC Artists Go Under Cover to Benefit Cat's Cradle.
    • Bandcamp.
    • 8.
  • Nina Simone

    Why? (The King Of Love Is Dead)

    • The Best Of Nina Simone.
    • Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd.
    • 7.
  • Alexander

    A Million Years

    • Alexander.
    • Rough Trade.
    • 7.


  • Sun 17 Jan 2021 11:00
  • Fri 22 Jan 2021 09:00

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes



Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?