Brought up in a house full of books, Kate loved reading, but also science and maths. After studying physics she went into IT, and worked in London before being transferred to Holland where she met her Irish husband. They lived in the states before moving back to Ireland.
“In 1999, my new year’s resolution was to write,” says Kate. “I started on a novel, and thought it would be easy.”
Struggling, she joined a class in Lucan, and was encouraged to try all different kinds of writing.
“I wrote a lot of children’s stuff, and some short stories. Some stories were on RTE, and were published in various anthologies.”
These days, with the demands of her job, Kate concentrates on poetry. She founded the poetry divas – a group of women who attend literary festivals – in order to get into Electric Picnic.
“That was seven years ago. We have a great time.”
“I put off doing a collection for a long time, because poets tell me they regret putting out their first collection too soon.”
Kate has been highly commended twice in the Patrick Kavanagh Award. She was delighted when Doire Press asked for ten poems, and then accepted the collection.
“They’re a wonderful publisher,” she says.
Who is Kate Dempsey
Date of birth: 1962, in Bishops Stortford.
Education: Finham Park Comprehensive School; St Hilda’s College, Oxford University, Physics.
Family: Denis from West Cork, children Joe, 25 and Grace, 23.
The Day Job: Data Analysis in Reassurance. “I crunch numbers all day and crunch words all night.”
Interests: I love travel.
Favourite Writers: Wendy Cope; Shakespeare; David Mitchell; Margaret Atwood; Kate Atkinson.
Second Novel: “I have at least half a collection of poetry written. When I have more time, I’d love to write a novel.”
Top Tip: “You have to end the book with the sentiment of the contents. If the tone is happy, you can’t finish with a tragedy; if gloomy, you can’t end with happiness.”
Web: www.emergingwriter.blogspot.ie Twitter: @PoetryDivas
The Debut: The Space Between. Doire Press: €12.
From the tender, through the humorous, to the downright strange – these poems are an original and quirky look at everyday life.
The Verdict: I adored this collection, and identified with it too. It’s one to reread and savour.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 26th December.
© Sue Leonard. 2015