30 October 2018

Newcross' Lilian Saidi Publishes her First Book!

Lilian Saidi

At her first year appraisal, Reading’s Lilian Saidi revealed that she had been writing a book in her spare time and was due to be imminently published.  Released in July 2018 and penned under the pseudonym Gemma, ‘The Box of The Covenant’ covers her incredible experiences in life, whilst looking to inspire hope and ignite dreams in those who read it.

Lilian left home at the age of seven and worked as a maid for over twenty years, running from abusive families and rough conditions.  Incredibly, having only started school at the age of nineteen with no prior education, Lilian obtained O Levels, A Levels and a degree in Business Management, Lilian is now a member of the Association of Business Executives.  Now living in England with her husband and two young daughters, Lilian works for Newcross as a way to give back and support people.

I sat down with Lilian to find out more about her and her first book...


What made you want to share your story?

I wanted to share my story because of what I have been through in my life; I believe I had these experiences for a reason and by putting them in writing, I may be able to help somebody who is going through similar circumstances.  This is for anyone going through any challenge in life where they need someone who can tell that they will get through it, that they can do it, and that there is a better tomorrow and that they will make it in life.

This book it to tell people that, regardless of their darkest situation, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Persevere and you will find that tomorrow will be better than today; you might be going through a night, but I promise you there will be a morning.  I had so many dark moments and sleepless nights, I thought I wouldn’t see tomorrow, but I always made it to see the sun rise.  Keep dreaming and move forward whilst focusing on your future!


Can you give some insight into the book?

This book – the whole experience of writing it – sums up my life to date.  It shows that no two lives are the same and we all go through different experiences, but life is what you make it.  Find who you are, know your values and what you stand for.  Believe that your dreams and aspirations are worth fighting for; fight for them and they will come.

One of the great lessons I have learned from my experiences is that tomorrow will be different to today.  I can say with confidence that whatever you are doing, whatever you believe, and despite whatever circumstances you are facing, you can make a change and have the things you dream of.  I hope that my book helps people recognise this, and realise that nothing is impossible to those who believe.


How long did it take to write, and how did you balance that with your family and work life?

It took 12 years to write this book and I thank God that I managed to finish it.  I started writing in my spare time, but the emotions it brought up meant that it was very stop-start for the first few years.  I realised I needed more time to concentrate on writing and began getting up early to at least write a few lines each day.  My husband has been a great support and encouraged me to finish, taking time off work and helping with our young children to allow me time to write during the evening and early mornings.  I am so pleased that I finished and can share my story.


What lessons from your life have you brought into your role in healthcare with Newcross?

In healthcare, we work with vulnerable people – I have learnt to treat people with love, respect and dignity.  I was once vulnerable and I know it feels to be mistreated and to be taken advantage of.  We need to treat people the same way we wish to be treated, regardless of our differences.

My husband told me once that “when you are strong, it is for the weak – that when you are rich, it is for the poor.”  We need to love and respect one another because life has to be valued, regardless of whose it is.

What advice do you have for people who may be in a similar situation?

They need to have something bigger inside than their current situation; something bigger to work toward and believe in.  This is what will make them persevere and move forward.  It is very easy to become depressed and have dark thoughts, but I want to encourage people to have something bigger inside to drive and inspire you.  Your situation is something that you are passing through; it is not permanent and you will make it through as long as there is something inside you that is bigger than the challenge surrounding you.

Using a car as an example, we see the tires moving the car, but we don’t see the things inside the car that drive it forward.  The things inside are more powerful than the parts we see outside.  Without it, it would be difficult to overcome any obstacle.  The energy inside you is more powerful than whatever challenge is outside; you need to have that fuel to achieve your dreams and live your life.

This article was written by Ashley Cooper, a Newcross Social Media Champion from Reading. 

“The Box of the Covenant” by Gemma is available from online stores in paperwork and as an eBook.