Kildare author Emma-Jane Leeson with artist Don Conry
Kildare based Irish author Emma-Jane Leeson is set to release the latest book in the popular children's series 'Adventures of Johnny Magory' next month after collaborating with artist, naturalist and presenter Don Conroy, as well as heading to Boston as part of a trade mission to educate children about Irish heritage on September 30.
Speaking about the popular series which was inspired by the 'Johnny McGory' phrase, Emma-Jane says: “I had the best childhood ever! Always outside, mucked up to the eyeballs and having adventures. Every night at bedtime Mammy would read us a book and then Daddy would tell us a story about Johnny McGory. The story was always just an exaggerated version of whatever we had done that day peppered with talking animals and trees. We always thought that he was a real person and couldn’t wait for him to tell us what the bold boy had done that day!”
Emma-Jane (33) initially wrote, and self-published the stories as a hobby however she realised in November 2018 following a bout of sickness that she needed to change her lifestyle to suit herself and her young family’s needs; this prompted the creation of ‘Johnny Magory Business’.
Having spent approximately 10 years in the corporate world working for organisations such as Bord na Móna, The Central Bank of Ireland and most recently Irish multinational giant Kerry Foods, the 9-5 routine and regular travel meant she had never completed her eldest daughter’s (15 year old Lily-Marie) homework for a solid two week period before.
The wife and mother of three (step-son Eibhean 12 and daughter Layla 5) looked at different alternatives to find the lifestyle she craved and initially believed that organic farming on her family land would be the way forward however that had to take a backseat as Johnny Magory Business took off in an unprecedented fashion.
Since becoming officially self-employed on April 1st 2019, Emma-Jane and the business have been nominated for 2 awards, participated in events that quickly rocketed the brand to become recognisable to parents across Ireland and have had social media influencers and celebrities such as Lucy Kennedy, Jennifer Zamparelli and Brian Dowling raving about the books.
Emma-Jane was a finalist in the start-up category for both ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ (IBYE) and won Highly Commended “One-to-Watch” in the Network Ireland Business Awards in the emerging business category.
She held her extremely popular ‘Heritage and Wildlife’ workshops at prestigious events such as Listowel Writers Week, Kaleidoscope Festival, the Laya Health Care City Spectaculars Dublin & Cork, and most recently Electric Picnic; usually pitched in her bright yellow 1972 Volkwagen Kombi bus ‘Tizzy’.
“It’s been a rollercoaster! I really couldn’t have dreamed any of this would be possible this time last year. The people I’ve met and places I’ve been so far have just been incredible. I can’t believe I’ve a new book coming soon with Don Conroy illustrating and a trip to Boston to boot on a Trade Mission with Enterprise Ireland. Really, it’s just a dream come true, I’m so grateful for it. And let’s be honest, I’m thriving in all the madness!” Emma-Jane laughs.
Irish artist, writer, naturalist and presenter Don Conroy is collaborating on a new book with Emma-Jane on the popular “The Adventures of Johnny Magory” children’s book series and the book will be due for release in October 2019.
The Kildare Chamber of Commerce and Local Enterprise Office have organised a trade mission to Boston commencing September 30 with a delegation formed of established businesses and high-potential start-up’s along with government officials and relevant organisational heads, and Emma-Jane is looking forward to the trip on September 30.
The aim of this trip is to bring the best of Kildare to Boston and vice-versa.
Emma-Jane is on a mission to transform her series of books into the Irish children’s brand for all things outdoors, nature and wild and ultimately want’s Johnny Magory to become the Irish equivalent of “Dora The Explorer” to educate children across the globe on Irish heritage and wildlife.
“Our aim is to educate children on Irish heritage, wildlife and culture. Our purpose is to them to get outside exploring and connecting with nature” says Emma-Jane who is an outdoor enthusiast.
Kildare author Emma-Jane Leeson hosting a Johnny Magory heritage and wildlife workshop
Johnny Magory’s purpose and vision will be delivered through the rhyming children’s book series, journals for parents and children, interactive outdoor events and eventually our animation series in the next year or so.
Emma-Jane works alongside Elizabeth who looks after the backend of the business, from her converted shipping container office at her house in rural Ballynafagh, Co. Kildare.
“I love working in the container with Elizabeth. It allows me to do the school run and prioritise family life when necessary. It’s also brilliant to be so close to my beloved Ballynafagh Lake where I can nip for a walk to clear the head at the drop of a hat!” says Emma-Jane.
Following in the footsteps of The Irish Fairy Door Company, this is another Irish business who aims to create memories that will last a lifetime and bring the imitable Irish heritage to children around the world. The future looks bright for this rural start-up and it’s given a new meaning to the story about Johnny Magory!
Books are available for sale from www.JohnnyMagory.com
The newest book “Johnny Magory and the Forest Fleadh Cheoil” will be available from October 2019.