Bell & Bain makes poetry dream reality

Jo Francis
Thursday, August 5, 2021

Bell & Bain has helped a nonagenarian’s dream come true by printing a volume of poetry written during lockdown.

Kathleen Brown with proof sheets of her book at Bell & Bain
Kathleen Brown with proof sheets of her book at Bell & Bain

The Scottish book printing and commercial printing group was contacted out-of-the-blue by 90-year-old Kathleen Brown, who found the company's details after trying out Siri on her iPad for the first time.

Brown then sent a handwritten letter to the business, explaining that she had “survived the Second World War… and this far during the Covid pandemic”. 

While shielding Brown had kept her mind occupied by writing numerous poems, and hoped to bring them to a wider audience. 

She wrote: “I feel very fortunate and optimistic that at my age, I have written and composed fifty poems, and deem them to be very interesting and readable.

“I feel that I have achieved something worthwhile. I hope you might agree.”

Karen Baillie, managing director at Bell & Bain, said the firm had been delighted to help her dream come true: “We responded by saying we would print some books for her no problem. She has since visited us, and travelled here from Bootle. We made some alterations and finally it’s all in production.”

Bailie said she hoped Brown’s book, Looking up in Lockdown, would also be picked up by a publisher and reach more readers as a result. 

“It really would be nice for someone to publish it for her,” she added. 

The firm has printed 250 copies initially, and has added foiled details to the cover. 

Brown will receive her finished books in a fortnight.

Alongside her poems, Brown has also written a short account of how she survived a bombing blitz on Bootle as a child during the war, an incident that destroyed the family home, and with the 80th anniversary of that event falling this year.

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