Dr Dell Brand
Dell Brand grew up in Sydney and taught in state high schools during her working life. Trained in PDHPE, she was recognised with the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Outstanding Achievement in Education Award for the development of alternate courses for senior students who wished to stay on at school and complete Years 11 and 12 but with little desire to pursue purely academic study.
She has three degrees in Education and her Ph.D. reflected her keen interest in working with children with challenging behaviours. For a number of years Dell worked with the South Coast Wilderness-Enhanced Program aimed at turning around young people’s lives. As a teacher in this program, she was able to involve herself in many of her recreational passions including abseiling, rock-climbing, wilderness trekking, canyoning and canoeing.
Dell loves the outdoors, especially the wilderness. In her younger years she was a keen swimmer and an A grade squash player. She now enjoys all outdoor pursuits and tries to play golf regularly. She has a loving family, with two grown-up children and five funtastic grandchildren.
Whilst still teaching, Dell completed a course in journalism and became a part-time freelance journalist, enjoying regular copy in a number of magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad.
She has a particular interest in family history and history in general and this is reflected in the books she writes.
She wrote her first children’s book, History’s a Mystery, in 2010 in an effort to teach upper-primary-aged children about some of the great events in world history. It was highly recommended by the Children’s Book Council of Australia and was short-listed for the West Australian Young Reader Awards. Due to its success, three more books followed: History’s a Mystery Again, History’s Still a Mystery and History’s a Mystery Once More. Frequently using her own travel experiences to write first-hand about places she has seen, all four books remain very popular with 10-12-year-olds.
Dell then turned her attention to writing for adults. All seven books have been self-published. Five are historical fiction and the first two, A Voice to be Heard and Cry to the Wind, follow the lives of Joey and Maddy Gower, born in Bedford but forced to emigrate to Australia. They begin a new life in the early years of Melbourne and the family saga continues through the turbulent years of the Victorian gold rush. The third book in the trilogy, Journey into Darkness, continues the story of the family through Joey’s daughter, Kit.
The Weif, reverts to historical fiction and follows the lives of two young siblings from Ireland, each transported to Australia for their crime. Lizzie is sent to Van Diemens Land while her brother, Will, finds himself working for a stone mason in Sydney. As the years pass in their new land, their paths cross and each must find a way of earning the happiness they desire.
Stina is an historical memoir about a young Swedish girl, Christina Sandberg, who emigrates to Australia with her family in 1872. Having already lost her mother in childbirth, her beloved father dies of typhus soon after their arrival. She marries, moves to Sydney from Brisbane and has four children in quick succession. But life hands her a series of fateful blows and she must develop resilience and fortitude to survive.
In Botany Boys mates from the Sydney suburb of Botany go away to fight in the first world war. Far from the adventure they imagined, the five years bring challenge, fear and loss but also lighter moments and some unexpected romance. Based on true accounts, these Botany boys experience daily horrors but learn the true value of mateship and the cost involved in striving to preserve a way of life they believe cannot be compromised.
Dell has written one contemporary drama, Winfale Park, set in the Illawarra. It tells of a family living in a caravan park who, when confronted with the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness in a small grandchild, must put aside their differences and pull together to see them through. This is currently under consideration as a stage play with the Merrigong Theatre Company.
Her book A Brummy’s Backyard is a collation of short stories linked together into a humorous omnibus and recounts their adventures in Britain, Europe and beyond while on a teaching exchange to The Midlands in England.
Dell is an experienced guest speaker and is happy to talk to her audience for 50-60 minutes, answering questions at the end of her presentation. She prefers a digital projector so that she can complement her talk with a powerpoint slideshow. Signed copies of the books are available for sale after the presentation.
B. Ed. (Phys)
University of Sydney
University of Sydney
Ph. D. (Special Educ)
University of Wollongong
Director-General’s Award for
Excellence in Teaching
Australian College of Education
Medal for Outstanding Achievement
Australian Society of Authors (ASA) and
South Coast Writers Centre