Published 26.07.2019
by Kids’ Own

Orla Kenny

Friends, colleagues, and those from the Kids’ Own community, remember our former Creative Director Orla Kenny.


Contribution from Victoria Ryle

I have been thinking about Orla, her family, friends and colleagues all week, and what I wanted to say… I love this photo of Simon and Orla at the third International Teaching Artist Conference in Edinburgh in August 2016. This was the last time we saw Orla, although we were in touch after, and spoke to her on the phone when we were in Dublin to mark 20 years of Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership in 2017. Since we departed KO in 2003 to head to Australia, I always loved the opportunities we had over the years to reconnect, exchange ideas and remind ourselves of our deep shared passion for children’s voices and creativity expressed through the books they publish.

And that smile will endure in our hearts forever…
Victoria Ryle



Contribution from Martin Corr


Surfers need not apply…

Having known Orla and Declan for over two decades, I sensed Orla didn’t have a lot of time for surfers (despite being married to one!) with their ‘drop everything’ for the surf lifestyle. So you can imagine my surprise when she asked me to help work on the design aspect of the 100 Year History project, Across an Open Field. I felt very honoured to work on such an important book. Throughout the project in the office in Ballinfull, when I’d arrive slightly late (or even very late!) she would remark, ‘been surfing have you?’ or ‘waves must have been good then?’, I would just reply that the waves were great! Best session ever! and that I had just seen Declan speeding towards Lislarry with a car full of surfboards or that I’d passed him at the turn off in Grange on the main Sligo/Bundoran road heading in the direction of Streedagh. She would laugh and say he’d better be back to collect Oscar at 3pm. I liked this sharp turn of wit and looked forward to this surf related verbal ping pong between us. Throughout the 100 years history project this became an in-house joke and always got a chuckle out of everyone in the Kids’ Own office during those long quiet afternoons when we had our heads stuck in work.



Contribution from Vanya Lambrecht Ward


I still find myself thinking: “I must tell Orla”

This might be to share an image, an interesting article, a song, a recipe or a book I think she might like; I know I can’t but still I do.

There are so many things I miss about her, so many things we can no longer share or do, so many things I can’t ask her.

Like planning a project, exhibition or road-trip; to dissecting and rehanging an exhibition we might see (not to be judgmental but to exercise our critical minds off course!) Or to discuss the ins and outs of something we found, made or wanted to explore.

And off course the all important ‘why’s’ – her asking of this  still resonates and I now have to do myself… So I might continue to think to myself  “I must tell Orla” and this way keep you close.



For Orla by Vanya Lambrecht-Ward