In Appreciation of Orla Kenny


Children’s Books Ireland have enjoyed various partnerships with Kids’ Own down through the years and have closely followed all of their projects. All of us who have encountered the work of Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership were deeply saddened by the news that its visionary Creative Director, Orla Kenny passed away recently. She was a tremendous force for good, working tirelessly and creatively for children and young people.


Orla strongly believed that the voice of children should be heard and amplified. Kids’ Own, under Orla’s guidance published many books by children for children. Their publishing process was rigorous. It brought children and professional practicing artists together to collaborate and truly co-create. Orla was tireless in her support of artists and in this way of working. She created many opportunities for artists to develop their work with children, alongside their own practice.  She was a fierce advocate of the value of work created in this way and Kids’ Own grew in reach, reputation and impact under her leadership. Kid’s Own’s role as editors of the National Arts in Education portal reflects the esteem in which their work is held.


She was also an incredibly warm and fun-loving individual, with a broad smile and a fantastic sense of humour. She was a great support to many artists and practitioners and she was as generous with her insights and knowledge as she was with her jokes and her enthusiasm.


Our thoughts are with her husband Declan, her young son Oscar, her extended family, as well as all in Kids’ Own at this time.


Mags Walsh, former Director of Children’s Books Ireland