MY KILDARE LIFE INTERVIEW: Prosperous writer Emma-Jane Leeson

Author of the Johnny Magory children's book series

Sarah Peppard

Reporter:

Sarah Peppard

Email:

sarah@leinsterleader.ie

MY KILDARE LIFE INTERVIEW: Prosperous writer Emma-Jane Leeson

Emma-Jane Leeson

Emma-Jane (33) is from Ballynafagh, outside of Prosperous. Her parents are Val and Angela and she has two sisters, Lorna and Sarah and a younger brother Pádraig.

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST KILDARE MEMORY?

Green fields! My earliest memories are all of being outside usually up to harm! I've the best memories of climbing trees, picking mushrooms, nuts and blackberries, riding ponies and just rambling along with a dog or cat always around.

I’ve got distinct memories of swimming in the canal and of being let loose to run wild in the Curragh with all my cousins. One of my earliest memories is standing in a line with all my cousins in my Nanna May’s yard and her hosing the bog mould off us after a day spent jumping bogholes in the Bog of Allen and being terrified that the ‘Bog Man’ was going to get us and put us in his wheelbarrow!

WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL DAY SPENT IN KILDARE?

Sunrise walk around Ballynafagh lake followed by a delicious pot of overnight oats in my garden. Then (weather permitting of course) a swim in the Liffey at Victoria Bridge outside of Caragh.

Lunch in the Bridge Side Cafe, Robertstown, then a walk or cycle along the Grand Canal. Dinner in my favourite restaurant followed by an evening stroll in Donadea forest and maybe a night tipple in Roches of Donadea now that my favourite pub in the world (Gerry Kelly’s of Timahoe) is sadly no longer open.

A simple day spent outside with delicious food.

FAVOURITE RESTAURANT?

Las Radas in Naas. I love the atmosphere, the food, the drinks, the staff and the memories I have in it. My only complaint is that I don’t get to eat in it often enough!

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WORK AS AN AUTHOR?

I have penned The Adventures of Johnny Magory children’s book series which were inspired by the old rhyme, “I’ll tell you a story about Johnny Magory”, and the whole idea is to educate kids about Irish heritage, wildlife and landscape (in a non boring but fun way!) and ultimately encourage them to get outdoors and using their imaginations.

There are three stories in the series so far with each set in a different locations in Kildare; Ballynafagh Lake, the Bog of Allen and Lowtown Marina, Robertstown.

I love visiting the schools, libraries, crèches and bookshops around Kildare and beyond and reading the stories to children and educating them about our fantastic little country. The books are official supporters of CMRF Crumlin with a euro from each book going to the children’s hospital charity that’s really close to my heart. I am currently working on a fourth Johnny Magory book and other projects.