Burnley-born artist and author sees new work exhibited in British Library collection

Pete O'Kennedy
Pete O'Kennedy

A Burnley-born artist and author has seen his work exhibited in the prestigious British Library collection.


Pete O'Kennedy, who left Burnley in 1969 and now lives in Essex, has just self-published a new book called 'Dreams of O'Dork' which begins its story in 'Brunlea' in 1969, and is now in the British Library contemporary publications collection.

Pete (69) and his family will be well known to many people in Burnley, having lived in Wycoller Avenue with parents Jack and Jenny Kennedy from 1955 to 1969. Jack was particularly well known, being very active as the football coach at St Mary's for many years and creating a local cricket competition, contributing the Kennedy Cup.

Now, Pete's latest book under his pen name Danny O'Cinneide, is a surreal journey featuring the author's artwork and principal character, Appleheadman (later called Apulhed).

Pete said: "I left Burnley in 1969, but came back every year to see my parents and friends who go back to 1955. A summer art show at Burnley Library in 1968 saw my first two oils exhibited while I was in the sixth form at Burnley Grammar School. In 1981 I had a big solo exhibition (about 100 works) in Burnley Central Library.

"I kept coming to see my parents who lived in Anne Close until they died a few years ago. I commemorated their 100th anniversary since their birth in some performance art appearances in 2018, one in London and another in Colchester near where I settled."

Pete now has several books in prestigious collections including the Tate and British Library collections, Winchester Art College and the Jan Michalski Foundation in Zurich.

Another ex-pat, Colne old boy Duncan Walker, wrote in the cover of the book: "This is the first book in the 'Nonagon Trilogy'. It charts the artistic journey of his pseudonym 'O'Dork', a wannabe artist in his uncertain youth, as he discovers his voice in art.

"He develops unique techniques of drawing to tap into his mind's imagination, and using these techniques he becomes a traveller into the mystical realm of the soul, connecting to others gone before him and some still here now."