10 September 2020

An Epsom woman has used lockdown to start her own publishing company - but it is a world away from her life 30 years ago.

Brenda Dempsey, who has lived in Epsom with her partner David since June 2005, has previously worked in mainstream and SEND education, with homeless charities and written chapters for books.

Her publishing company, Book Brilliance Publishing, was launched in late April/early May, not long after lockdown was first declared.

Brenda recalls: “At the start of the year, I had been asked to ghostwrite, and people were coming to me, but I thought I’m not a publisher. Then Covid came. I’d been in Dubai [where three of her children live], I had to come back because of Covid.”

It wasn’t long before she started speaking to friends about starting a publishing company. It was largely thanks to contacts she had made it throughout her professional life that made it easier.

The 62-year-old mother-of-four and grandmother-of-eight said the last few months have been some of the busiest of her professional life and she could never think of retiring.

She has signed a contract for an upcoming TV programme and says her phone is buzzing every few minutes.

Ten authors have already signed up to participate, which will see them publishing within the next 12 months.

They don’t limit themselves too much for topics of books, but deal largely with non-fiction, business and children’s books as their main focuses.

Brenda says: “For me, it isn’t just writing about the books. I believe in the ripple effect, I believe in bringing out the best in people.”

She is also keen to champion voices of all kinds, be that people from a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds or younger people, the latter of which ties in with her history of teaching.

She says: “I wanted to use my position to champion young writers. For some children, writing is a bit of a challenge, but I think it’s also around developing good reading skills, and everything around the story.”

It comes as part of a life that has seen her go through significant challenges. She grew up in a council estate in the Scottish town of Clydebank, less than 10 miles away from Glasgow.

Following a marriage breakdown, she was homeless and living in sheltered accommodation with four children in her early thirties during her teacher training.

“I want to take women like myself, who have been through adversity and get them to speak about it. I’m not saying I didn’t have dark days, but I’ve never been a human being that stays down for long," she added.

Brenda believes that books have never been more relevant than throughout lockdown. Whether it’s just taking some time to escape the real world with some reading or admiring people’s bookshelves on Zoom calls, while mediums come in and out of fashion, 2020 has been a year that shows that books can continue to hold their own.

Source: Surrey Live