Irish American Writers & Artists

October 24, 2013

John Patrick Shanley’s Remarkable O’Neill Award Acceptance Speech

IRT_1014John Patrick Shanley, 2013 Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree

I love you all. I’m miserable with love for you. I want to move in with you. I want to stay with you until you die. And I want to bury you. I hate you, too.

The paradox. The contradiction. I love ya. I hate ya. In short, did I mention that I’m Irish? What is a man who would blow up the world because he loves it so much? He’s Irish. Why do so many Irish people write?

So they won’t kill you. But that’s obvious. So they won’t kill you and have sex with everybody in your house. That’s why we write, we Irish.

I know I shouldn’t generalize. Stick to what you know they say. Why do I write? Many reasons.


Here’s a story to illustrate.

A family of birds fell in love with a girl and would not let her be. Shehad to live in a birdcage to keep them out. One morning, she left the gate open and the birds got into the cage with her. So she leapt out and shut the door. When you visit her, all seems normal. She is in her chair. Birds chirp in a cage. But when you know the history, what you see is different.

To be a writer is to reveal history. And to make connections, metaphors. A good metaphor is like a trellis to which new ideas can cling and grow; it is a structure that invites life. Sometimes I think to be a writer is like you get to sleep in a glass bed. It’s beautiful, it’s hard, it’s cold, but you get to see down, way down maybe.

Another world.

Thinking about talking today, I was unpacking my head last night, looking for stuff, and I realized that my head was packed all wrong. You know, like at the supermarket. Somebody packed the squishiest stuff at the bottom of my head. My childhood was down under all these marriages and cars and stuff, and it looked… well, it didn’t look good. Why does God put pack childhood at the bottom of the bag? That’s my first question for you.

Not that I’m going to talk about my childhood.

Lucky you.

But let me talk like I write think for a minute because why not?

I write because it is the day after some other day, and as usual I’m looking for the hidden valley or green shoots or code or balcony or question or messenger or bible angel… or you. Maybe I’m a search party looking for you by writing and the letters are falling out of the words like sand into the bottom half of Time, and the window by the desk is broken, and the sweet air is coming in, and is that your scent reimagining everything in my world?

Are you the organizing template that changes how I see the coming hours? Are you the Pilgrim sailing into my Plymouth, mounted on some mottled Pegasus, intent on upending this chaos Life?

The idea of your arrival turns my inner rubble into castles, chapels, walled gardens, ornamental vistas. In short, it is for you, folks, that I bother to become intelligible.

But not yet. A massive dictionary is hurled down by some ineloquent god; it busts open and the language pieces gather around you into poetry and revelation.

We don’t know what role we play, when the day comes looking for its purpose. Me writing is me searching for you.

I should tell you something personal. Sometimes I imagine that I am a horse. I don’t tell anybody when I’m doing this. I just look at people and think: “I am a horse.” It’s very relaxing. You should try it. Let’s all do it for a minute. Think: I am a horse. I am a horse in a folding chair. We are horses hanging out, having cocktails. What’s the problem? Nice, isn’t it, being horses together? Now think of the cricket. The bug. The little cricket. Some say crickets are damned souls asking for another chance at life. So I say to you: Don’t be a cricket. Be a horse. Horses step on critics. I mean, crickets.

I started out as a poet. A poet is like a pearl diver who holds her breath, hoping for a pearl. Fathom after fathom, down she goes. When has she gone too far? When is the pain too much? When does the pursuit of the prize tempt her beyond the mortal line of life itself? I have been writing all my life. My writing was my way of pushing against my reluctance to live. I was writing before I was calling it writing.

At first I thought it was puberty. I told Sister Christopher ‘There’s a piano in my head. If I don’t play it, somebody else will.’

And she hit me.


To ask another question: Eugene O’Neill. Why did he have to be so unhappy? Was that really necessary? Couldn’t he have written those beautiful plays, those strange plays, those sometimes lousy plays, without being just glutted and clogged up and finally wilted with misery?

He was a good dresser. No one can take that away from him. He never wrote a good line they say, but he could wear clothes.

This award I’ve received is named after O’Neill but I’m accepting it anyway. It’s an award, and if I get enough of them, maybe I won’t die. But I will. Damn it. Damn it.

Another story. A man raised by dogs was chasing a car down the street. Somebody stopped him and

asked: “What would happen if you caught that car?” The man replied “Why then I’d be happy.”

I am that man.

That is my affair with language. It is a pursuit. I send my ALL out of my fingers across this world to

you. My tenderness overwhelms my senses in the process. I can’t be otherwise than I am. I’ve thrown away whatever could have protected me. It’s such a reckless thing to truly be yourself. It’s like kneeling and offering your sword to God. I’d just like to say as a central statement that I am no more than a follicle on the face of Eugene O’Neill, and yet I have this award and he is dead.

Let me ask you this? Why is a beautiful woman more beautiful when she is holding a lamb chop? It’s a mystery, perhaps a Catholic mystery.

My mother wanted me to be a priest. What WAS she thinking?

O’Neill, leaning against an elm tree, would say Incest. O’Neill had incest more often than he had

marmalade. Mentally. That’s why he went to sea. To escape the incest.

Why does Conor MacPherson write about ghosts all the time? So that he doesn’t write about incest.

Why does Martin MacDonagh write how awful Irish people are? Because he’s Irish and that’s what we do when we’re not chasing our sisters down the hallways of our unconscious. MacPherson and

MacDonagh also have pianos in their heads that they must play or devils will. I can see it in their pink and blinking eyes.

Why does William Kennedy write about Albany? Nobody  knows.

A pair of Pulitzer & Eugene O'Neill Award winners: John Patrick Shanley and William Kennedy

A pair of Pulitzer & Eugene O’Neill Award winners: John Patrick Shanley and William Kennedy

Rip paper. Spatter ink. Scrawl a word. Screw it to the paper. Stop. Ignore the heart. Ignore the brain. Find the stone you stand upon. Say it all. Then you’re gone. That’s the writer’s way.

Or say nothing. Create a silence as frightening as a black ripped hole of a nightmare. Watch it grow like a dark forest leaning over the road. Walk that road till you yourself turn into a dark river, dangerous to ford. Travel on. The edge of dawn appears like gold abandoned by retreating bandits. A steel grey trout darts in your freezing waters. You emerge from Winter and the Night. The silence you created becomes summer, the trees bear fruit, and THAT’s the writer’s way, too.

You don’t understand everything I’m saying? Relax. You’re not supposed to. Take the ride. I am.


Take what you want. What you leave is more than enough for me. Take everything. Everything will still be there when I need it. Give me everything, why don’t you? You will still be rich. We’re all rich. We own nothing. We lose nothing. We acquire nothing. But we can use our metaphorical minds and memories to remember the sun when the rain falls, the warm when the chill is on us. We can remember Love when no Love is, which is a way of always having

Love. Remember your pleasures like consoling candles that dance on the edge of the dark. Safe? You will never be safe! Find pleasure in peril, or live in an upholstered dream. The love you want you have. The future is an act of imagination, intelligence and hope.

All you have ever been, that is your treasure. Value it. No part of your history is less than precious.

2013 Eugene O'Neill Award Celebra

2013 Eugene O’Neill Award Celebration

Everything you’ve ever wanted is right here, waiting for you to pick it up and use it. NOW.

The largest bell in Notre Dame is named Emmanuel. It weighs almost 13 tons. I sometimes picture myself as the cathedral and this bell within me. It’s immobility is so difficult to overcome. I want to vibrate from my center outward until I am heard. My quiet credo to myself and you: The long journey earns its destination.

To speak straight on for a moment, I have avoided writing about the Irish most of my life. I did this because I wanted to be an American writer, not an Irish American writer. If you’re an Irish American writer, the critics discount 46 percent of your talent as a natural genetic blemish. But now, as my hair goes grey or just goes, I’ve decided it’s time to admit I’m Irish, and to write about the Irish. My father came from Westmeath when he was 24. He’d be a 107 now so it’s good he’s dead or he’d frighten everybody. But

he made it to 95 he did, and a great man he was. Grew up on a farm that’s still in my family. I was just there a couple of months ago. The cows ran away from me.

They saw the city on my face.

My grandmother used to say that Ireland would sink into the sea 7 years before the end of the world, and I think she was right. When Ireland is no more, when the Irish perspective abandons the human experience, I think the end will be upon us. I have Ireland on Google Alert so I will know instantly when Ireland has sunk and the final countdown has begun.

I will immediately chase down as many beautiful women with lamb chops and sheep’s eyes as I can manage, and try to write once more with flame and blood my personal experience of this beautiful life that is so fleeting and so fine.

Thank you for honoring me. I value the boost. My experience of life radiates outward from a central core. It violates my skin like the spokes on a sheriff’s star, exceeds my boundary of flesh, and affects others. Each of you in turn radiate outward as well, and the effects of your good will in this case overstep and crosshatch my personal fire. We are a cosmos, balls of light, and in the case of the Irish, gas. I have always perceived that my individual existence is in part illusory. We are all over each

other, covering and permeating each other with lights and wind and magnetism and spirit. I do not believe I will ever die until everyone of you is dead, and those beyond this room and this time have perished also.

I don’t know what happens after humanity flickers out.

The party’s over I guess. The cumulative effort is accomplished. We will retreat into a dark fist until creation broods anew and takes some other turn. It’s pointless to peer too far down the curving corridors of time. Now is all.

You are benevolent and kindly in this gesture. You honor me for what I have so far done. That is an alright thing to do.

It’s not too serious.

I’m just a schmuck like all of you.

But there is joy and wisdom in honoring any one of us.

We are alive.

We strive.

And, if we are blessed, we create light.

I’m glad my son is here, as well as friends and strangers.

Thank you all!

© John Patrick Shanley

October 22, 2013

Exciting IAW&A Salon Evening of Words, Music, Dancing, & Laughter at the Cell, 10/15

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:31 pm

Blogpost and photos by Mark William Butler

The Tuesday October 15th edition of the IAW&A Salon included a diverse and talented mixture of member artists and special guests as we all joined together for another exciting evening of words, music, dancing and laughter at the Cell Theatre.  Salon regular Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence made her debut as guest host and graced us with her charm and good humor.  And away we go…

kathleeen LKathleen Rockwell Lawrence

Kathleen herself began the evening with a reflection on Yeats’s warning that it’s easier to scrub floors and break stones rather than write; he tells us that we have to choose between “perfection of the life or of the art.” Yes, writing is hard, Kathleen agreed, but said that sometimes both life and art come together, as in our fun Salons.

Tom Mahon & Jack O’Connell then followed by acting a scene from Tom’s novel in progress, The Boy’s Club. Jack Dugan is a priest and is exiled to upstate New York for an affair in Manhattan with a socialite.  He’s unprepared and overwhelmed by parish duties and drinks.  Harry Dalton, like Jack, is a Vietnam vet, and arrives as Jack is smoking his first cigarette of the day with his first coffee.  Harry tells Jack the VA has diagnosed him with colon cancer, except it’s not colon cancer. They suspect it’s from Agent Orange.  Jack could get it too, but that’s the overriding concern in the scene.  Jack invites Harry to move into the rectory to die with Jack helping him ease out of life into death the best he can. Harry’s given 6 months.


Tom Mahon and Jack O’Connell

Margaret McCarthy ( then honored Halloween with her poem “Approaching Samhain,” about delving into our fear and fascination with the unknown.  The poem is also featured in the current e-pub A VISION AND A VERSE (


Margaret McCarthy

The group was then treated to some classic seanchai storytelling by Dan Larkin, who enthralled the assembled with a wild tale involving a pub, a pint of ale and a white cat.


Dan Larkin

Ex-boxer and Whitey-Bulger lieutenant, John Shea, read from his memoir, Rat Bastards, The Life and Times of South Boston’s Most Honorable Irish Mobster.  He read about his code as a gangster meant that he could never inform on anyone and how he did 12 years in prison rather than rat on Whitey Bulger and his associates.  In a touching passage, John spoke about how is gangster life prevented him from having the kind of relationship and family life he wanted.   

photo (39)

John Shea

Before the break, maestro fiddler Tony DeMarco played a tune and told the audience about the New York Tradfest, a new festival showcasing the many talented traditional Irish musicians in the New York area.  The New York Tradfest took place the weekend of 10/19 and 10/20, and, by all accounts was a rousing success!


Tony DeMarco


A full house at the Cell Theatre 

After the break, Michele Cetera, read a story and performed a dance in honor of her father who was murdered years ago.


Michelle Cetera and partner

Mystery Writers of America member Gary Cahill then offered the opening “chapter” of his unpublished short story The Cuddle Puddle, a Hell’s Kitchen tale about the thieving of a beautiful jeweled ring from a bar patron’s final resting place — a cremation urn stored on the back bar at a shot-and-a-beer tough guy joint. Someone, please find this story a home!  Gary also read of two leg breakers looking to put the hurt on an arrogant oil baron descended from the men who paid to kill JFK in Fathers, Sons, Ghosts, Guns from the just-published Big Pulp Magazine print anthology The Kennedy Curse. Gary will be appearing at KGB Bar on E. 4th St. on Wed. Oct. 23rd at 7 pm sharp and looking to read from the Plan B Magazine Anthology Volume II at an upcoming Salon.


Gary Cahill 

Seamus Scanlon then presented his monologue “Clap Your Hands”, which was originally part of a Dark Fable series in Jersey City directed by Mason Beggs.  It starred Paul Nugent and Anna Lane. It was a meditation on how a damaged child causes mayhem locally and globally.


Paul Nugent and Anna Lane

Visiting Galway writer Alan McMonagle then shared a story from his newly published collection, Psychotic Episodes. Played out over an interminable journey to the sea, “Bloomsday Bus Driver” is a teasing fable of youthful discovery involving sunshine, ice cream, a white dress, several frustrated passengers and one lusty bus driver.


Alan McMonagle

Ann Malloy McCoy followed by reading a selection from the CRITIC’S section of the current Brooklyn Rail  (  The issue is about the artist who lost their work in the storm, the subject was vulnerability.


Ann McCoy

John Kearns then read his exuberant love poem called, “Let Words Be Slaves.” Some lines from the poem were heard in John’s play, In the Wilderness, last summer at the Bleecker Street Theatre.

Special musical guest Donie Carroll brought the night to a close with soulful renditions of “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree” (from his new CD, Divil of a Noise), “If I Were a Blackbird,” and “Red Is the Rose.”  It was a warm and wonderful ending to yet another successful Salon.



And finally, one for the road, written by the man whom we honored, by an award in his name, on Monday October 21st … “Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.” – EUGENE O’NEILL

October 20, 2013

“Less preachy than Miller, less gloomy than O’Neill, he’s definitely less fragile than Williams” Larry Kirwan on John Patrick Shanley

Filed under: Literature,Theater — by johnleemedia @ 4:22 pm

By Larry Kirwan

 I don’t know why he stuck in my mind all those years? He was just another boozer a couple of stools away mouthing off about being a writer. Nothing new in the Bells of Hell – yet something caused me to inquire who he might be!

“Some narrowback down from the Bronx, Shanley or something.” Nick Browne, that most misanthropic of barmen, replied.

Years later I read a review of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and the penny dropped.

John Patrick Shanley’s name has rarely been out of the papers since. You might know him best for writing Moonstruck, one of the all time feel-good movies.

Or you might recall that he wrote Doubt, a very fine play – I never saw the movie but given the material and a cast that included Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, all under Shanley’s direction, it had to be on the money.

Shanley has won the big three: Pulitzer, Oscar and Tony. On Monday night, he’ll add the Irish American Writers and Artists Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award to his trophy chest. And it’s well deserved.

He’s from the Bronx and it shows. The Bronx is poorer, more working class, and arguably more dangerous than the other boroughs. The people are outgoing and outspoken – hell, they created a world language up there, Hip-Hop! Shanley may be far removed from that particular vernacular but his plays are fearless and his characters can be both troubled and troublesome.

He shows you both sides of an argument, then steps away and allows you to make up your own mind. Less preachy than Miller, less gloomy than O’Neill, he’s definitely less fragile than Williams.

I have to admit that while watching Doubt I was often on the side of the charismatic Father Flynn rather than the dogged, Sr. Aloysius. I left the theatre disturbed by the play – probably the playwright’s desired reaction – for who has not been bothered by the Catholic Hierarchy’s disastrous and often puzzling response to accusations of child molestation aimed at their clergy.

A relative of John’s had been subjected to this criminality and the family watched with horror while the Church not only did not publicly censure the cleric, but promoted him. And yet while attending Doubt, I felt for the misguided priest as much as for the good sister who exposed him – a sure sign of a fine playwright at work.

Shanley’s father was from outside Mullingar and though the son’s work is invariably set in the city, yet there is an ineffable sense of the Irish midlands in both his plots and language. Apparently, he had a troubled relationship with his mother.

Ah, the Irish mother, where would we be for drama without her? No doubt it’s the mix of steady Mullingar father and self-contained mother that gives Shanley his ability to show both sides of an argument so flawlessly while forsaking the usual preachy theatrical judgment.

The young man I heard mouthing off in the Bells had to crash through many barriers of class and perception on his way from the Bronx to Broadway. Irish American Writers and Artists was established to make that route easier. We provide two monthly salons, one on the Upper West Side at the Thalia and a downtown venue at The Cell on 23rd Street where playwrights, musicians, writers, actors, graphic artists and all other workers in the arts, can strut their stuff in an empathetic environment.

Members are encouraged to present their work on a regular basis – it costs less than a buck a week to join. The public is permitted free of charge to all salons.

Olympia Dukakis, Debra Messing and the esteemed director, Doug Hughes, will be on hand Monday night at Rosie O’Grady’s to toast and roast John Patrick Shanley of the Bronx for a distinguished artistic life.

If you hear a young playwright mouthing off at Rosie’s bar, take note of his or her name. You might be in the company of another great artist in the making.


The Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded at the Manhattan Club, Rosie O’Grady’s in Times Square.  For information and tickets, visit

October 17, 2013

IAW&A Attorney, Stephen Fearon, Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Fordham University

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:48 pm

Please join us in congratulating, Stephen J. Fearon, pro bono attorney for Irish American Writers and Artists on his Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fordham University School of Law.  The Fordham Law School Lifetime Achievement Award honors a graduate who, in a lifetime of extraordinary achievement, has embodied the Law School’s highest ideals of excellence and service.


Stephen was presented with the award at the Seventh Annual Golden Rams Luncheon  on September 20th.

From the award event’s brochure:

“Stephen J. Fearon joined Condon & Forsyth LLP in 1967. Steve concentrates on trial and appellate work on behalf of the firm’s airline clients. He has written many articles on aviation law and has conducted numerous seminars under the auspices of the International Air Transport Association and the Air Transport Association for representatives of member airlines. Steve is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham Law School and frequently lectures on aviation issues. In2006, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Fordham Law Alumni Association.

“Steve is admitted to the bar of New York (1964), the District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts ofNew York (1967), the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit (1967), and the U.S. Supreme Court  (1985).

“He is a member of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York (member, Aeronautical Law Committee, 1975-1978, 1984-1986), the New York State (member, Aviation Law Committee, 1982.-1986) and American Bar Associations. He is also a member, Executive Committee of the New York County  Lawyer’s Association, the American Inns of Court, a member of the Board of the Fordham Law Alumni Association, and a board member for Thorpe Family Residences, Bronx, New York. Among his other distinctions, Steve is also a member of the Character and Fitness Committee of the New York Supreme Court  Appellate Division, First Department.”

Comhghairdeas leat, Steve!

October 15, 2013

‘The Biggest Part of Writing Is Showing Up’ A Conversation with Peter Quinn

Filed under: Literature — by johnleemedia @ 11:39 pm
Tags: , , ,

Intro to an interview with one of our IAW&A founders and past president Peter Quinn

Peter Quinn’s newest novel is Dry Bones, the third book in a trilogy that also includes Hour of the Catand The Man Who Never Returned. His previous works include the novel Banished Children of Eve, which won a 1994 American Book Award and is now entering its twentieth year in print, and Looking for Jimmy: In Search of Irish America, a collection of nonfiction essays. Quinn, a historian and a former political and corporate speechwriter, has published numerous articles and reviews in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times,America, and Commonweal. He recently spoke with Commonweal’s digital editor, Dominic Preziosi.Dominic Preziosi: Your new novel, Dry Bones, completes the trilogy that began with Hour of the Cat. Did you start out with the intention of writing a series?

Peter Quinn: No. I had written Banished Children of Eve, and it took ten years, so I wanted to write a quick book. And because I love Raymond Chandler, I wanted to write a noir detective novel. So then I had an idea that instead of stumbling on a single murder, what if a detective stumbled on the biggest murder plot in history—eugenics and the Holocaust. So my quick book turned into an eight-year book, because of all the research. But I then found that I wasn’t finished with this detective and I had another idea. I’ve always been fascinated with the Judge Crater case, and my publisher said, “We’ll put your detective Fintan Dunne on the case and we’ll do a trilogy.” But I didn’t want to be locked into a time schedule—I wanted to be able to skip around. So Hour of the Cat is set in 1938, The Man Who Never Returned is set in 1955 but goes back to a case from 1930, and the third book is in postwar Slovakia in 1945 and then jumps to Havana in 1958.

To read the whole interview, please go to


October 10, 2013

Gabriel Byrne, Colum McCann, William Kennedy Join in Advance Praise for Peter Quinn’s “Dry Bones”

Past president of the IAW&A Peter Quinn has penned (and he still writes by pen) the finale of his Fintan Dunne trilogy, due on the bookshelves on November 1.   Here are some early reactions and reviews of Dry Bones…

dry bones 971378_10201591163244747_518260922_n

“Peter Quinn is a poet and an historian and one of our finest storytellers. He sits at the fireside of the American imagination. He can carve mystery out of mystery. The work is generous and agile and profound.” – Colum McCann

 # # #

Kirkus Reviews


Author: Peter Quinn


Pages: 352

Price ( Hardcover ): $25.95

Publication Date: October 31, 2013

ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-4683-0736-8

Quinn’s final installment in a spy trilogy that began with Hour of the Cat (2005) and The Man Who Never Returned (2010) sends New York PI Fintan Dunne on a secret wartime mission to Slovakia to rescue OSS officers from the last gasps of Nazi aggression.

Dunne and his deceptively tough partner, the poetry-spouting banker’s son Dick Van Hull, barely escape Slovakia, where nothing is as it was described. A slippery chain of events exposes them to Dr. Karsten Heinz, a war criminal whose grave offenses include supervising gruesome experiments on concentration camp victims. Not only does Heinz avoid conviction, he appears to be among the many Nazi scientists and technicians being imported by the U.S. government to aid in the fight against communism. That men who were employed by Hitler to help kill millions would be awarded new careers in America is, says an outraged OSS officer, “the greatest danger we face…becoming the enemy we oppose.”

Jump to 1958. Working for a high-profile Manhattan security firm (complete with a smart and beautiful office assistant), Dunne comes across coded instructions to meet an OSS crony who has crucial information about Heinz’s whereabouts. More old friends and foes emerge from the shadows, while Van Hull, now a drunken shadow of his old self, remains hidden with a secret of his own.

Quinn writes with elegant restraint; he’s a master of tone and a deft orchestrator of people and events. His portrayal of Wild Bill Donovan, controversial head of the OSS, is but one of his sure-handed transformations of reality to fiction.

Gripping up to the end, the book—which takes its title from the old spiritual about everything being connected—will send readers who were new to Quinn back to his other books in the series.

# # #

Dry Bones is a savvy, suspenseful tale of World War II espionage and Cold War skullduggery in which Fintan Dunne cements his place in the PI pantheon alongside Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade. Dunne can be misled and mishandled, but he can’t be deterred. Every bit as unpredictable as Quinn’s first two installments, this riveting conclusion to the trilogy leaves no doubt that Dunne is an ace of Spades who knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.” – William Kennedy

# # #


Issue: October 15, 2013

Dry Bones.

Quinn, Peter (Author)

Nov 2013. 352 p. Overlook/Duckworth, hardcover, $25.95. (9781468307368).

WWII is nearing its end in Europe, but General “Wild Bill” Donovan, head of the Office of StrategicServices, picks Fintan Dunne and Dick Van Hull to parachute into occupied Czechoslovakia to extract OSS officers dropped there to organize the Czech resistance. Immediately, Dunne and Van Hull are on the run, from Nazis, Czech Fascists, Russian troops, and hordes of refugees. They barely get out alive, but they discover an appalling secret that could cost them their lives.

Quinn’s plots defy easy summary, but his characters fascinate, and his sense of place and time is compelling. Dunne has seen too much war and salutes lost comrades with altar-boy Latin prayers. Van Hull’s recitations of poetry provide apt punctuation for everything the men experience.

Quinn’s Czechoslovakia is a maelstrom; his evocation of ruined German cities almost palpable. Donovan’s skill at navigating Washington’s internecine wars, his abrupt jettisoning at war’s end, and the dismissal of war-crimes charges for hundreds of culpable Nazis deemed useful in the coming Cold War are vividly drawn. Readers who want to really taste history will welcome

Dry Bones. – Thomas Gaughan

# # #


“From first sentence to last, Peter Quinn keeps the reader gripped. I love the simplicity of the writing: it is both subtle and intelligent. Peter Quinn is such a marvelous storyteller that sometimes it’s hard to tell fact from fiction. But you know you are in a world that is singular and compelling. Fintan Dunne is a splendid creation, a character you will remember long after you have finished this superb novel.” – Gabriel Byrne

October 4, 2013

Wild, Wonderful Jam-Packed October Thalia Salon, 10/1

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:56 pm

Blogpost and photos by Mark William Butler

The joint was jumpin’ with a packed house at Bar Thalia on Tuesday for yet another wild and wonderful IAW&A Salon. Standing room only! Singing room only! Reading and writing and acting and jamming room only! And away we go…

John Kearns read an excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, in which Paul Logan remembers in terms of an epic battle a schoolyard “Keep Away” game between his sixth-grade friends and the eighth graders who had stolen their pee wee football. Just as in the Iliad Homer wrote of the exploits of  Ajax and Hector fighting their enemies on the plains of Troy, so Paul Logan’s proud memory narrates the tale of his Sacred Heart schoolyard exploits with epic similes and heroic epithets.

Peadar Ó hÍcí

Peadar Ó hÍcí then made his Salon debut with two great songs. The first was “The Ballad of Luke Ryan,” which deals with the exploits of an Irish pirate turned privateer. Luke Ryan was one of Benjamin Franklin’s Pirate Navy during the Revolutionary War. He captured more British Navy ships than any other captain acting on behalf of the United States. “Take the butcher’s apron (Union Jack) down and hoist the Stars and Stripes” is a reference to the practice of flying under false friendly flags to lure an enemy ship close. His second number, “The Faraway Hill Looks So Blue,” is about being a Dubliner away from home and missing out on the celebrations on Dublin’s Hill 16 during the All-Ireland Football Final.

Gary Cahill

Crime fiction writer Gary Cahill returned to read two pieces from an even darker side of the street than usual. Hudson County, November ’80 is a flash fiction piece, short enough to read in under five minutes, and is published on the free Shotgun Honey website ( A guy finds a loaded money clip, and waits in a local bar to see if he’ll keep it, or lose everything; guess which way that goes. The murder of JFK and its legacy is the subject of “Fathers, Sons, Ghosts, Guns,” published in the Big Pulp Magazine anthology The Kennedy Curse. Lesson learned? Blood may be thicker than water, but it’s not thicker than oil. Gary will be appearing at the 2A Bar on Avenue A and E. 2nd. St. on Monday October 7th, 8 pm, reading at an event for this very pulp fiction short story collection. So, come on down to the East Village!

Kevin McPartland

Kevin R. McPartland then treated us to a mesmerizing chapter from his recently released novel, Brownstone Dreams, in which he describes his protagonist in dire straights, held up in a flea-bag hotel on the Lower East Side with a pair of Brooklyn hit men and police closing in fast. Kevin also announced his book launch party at the Cell Theatre on 10/13/13 from 3-5pm. He invited all present to stop by have a drink and purchase the novel if they feel so inclined.

Patric Uganda

Actor and Salon newcomer Patric Uganda then performed an impassioned monologue from Blue/Orange, a play written by English dramatist, Joe Penhall. Blue/Orange is a sardonically comic piece touching on race, mental illness, and 21st century British life.

Ray Lindie

Author Ray Lindie then pushed the envelope with the latest excerpt from his ongoing crime fiction project, Lone Hero, a tale told in a no-holds-barred, gritty and grimy pulp genre style.

Sarah Fearon

The fearless Sarah Fearon then tried something new and read from the first draft of a short story entitled, “Francis, Waiting for the A.” The action revolves around old school friends from Rockaway and midtown Manhattan, global warming storms and an inventive real estate heist. Sarah’s work reminded us that the right combination of sad, funny, and suspense always makes for a good story.

Marcia Loughran

Marcia Loughran then closed out the first half of the show by reading poems about fishing, marriage, and the Rockaways… and about October feeling like the end of the world… but in a good way. She charmed the crowd with her warmth and humor.

It was then time for the break, as Bar Thalia transformed into the much more pronounceable Bar, and our intrepid artists exchanged ideas while they consumed a wide variety of refreshing beverages.

Adelyne Liu

Actress Adelyne Liu kicked off the second half of the proceedings by reading a series of poems that expressed her frustrations and inspirations since her journey from Los Angeles back to her native New York. Her first one, “Blissfully Free,” was set in the sometimes grimy and dark streets of New York City with undertones of political dissatisfaction. “Raindrops on a Summer’s Day” was about the beauty of rain, but also a reminder to cherish every day. Lastly, “Climbing on Monkey Bars” was an ode to her grandfather and an expression of nostalgia of being young girl.

Kathy Callahan

Kathy Callahan told a story called, “A Good Sign, Indeed.” In the story, Ms. Callahan derives timeless inspiration and encouragement during a conversation with the ever generous Seamus Heaney, on being a fearless writer and storyteller. And while crossing paths with Malachy McCourt when she least expected it. A good sign, indeed.

Sheila Agnew

Sheila Agnew followed with a very funny article about the various types of rejections writers receive… it was a piece nearly everyone in the crowd could identify with… unfortunately.

Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher then read an excerpt from her story, “The Enemies of Rose,” which is included in the New Rivers Press anthology The Next Parish Over: A Collection of Irish American Writing. The story brings the narrator, Deirdre, to Rockaway Beach to attend the funeral of her godmother, Rose, who has been absent from Deirdre’s life for many years. But Rose – a woman to whom attention must be paid – makes her presence known, as she orchestrates, from the grave, an amusing confrontation between her former employer and her godchild. Thus Rose insures that she will long be remembered.

Guen Donohue

Next up was Guen Donohue, who performed a stirring monologue from her play, The Poecock, and wowed the crowd with the song, “The Rocky Road to Dublin.”

Jack DiMonte

Jack DiMonte then brought his usual musical panache to “But For Now,” a ballad by Bob Dorough that depicts the rose-colored view of one newly-smitten, before really getting to know the object of their affection. Instead the song declares “But for now let me say I love you, later on I must know much more of you.”

Jon Gordon

The evening then came to a spectacular close with saxophonist Jon Gordon’s incredible, improvisational jazz rendition of “Danny Boy” (or “The Derry Air”). It was an inspiring and soulful conclusion to yet another sensational Salon celebration. (Alliteration sold separately.)

And finally, one for the road… “Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez

Debra Messing to Toast Shanley at IAW&A O’Neill Award event

Filed under: Events,Television,Theater — by tjenglish @ 4:08 pm

Image Award Winners Olympia Dukakis, Debra Messing, Doug Hughes to Laud John Patrick Shanley at 2013 Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award

Oscar-, Tony-, and Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Writer and Irish American to be Honored in NYC on October 21st

New York, NY – October 3, 2013 – Academy-Award winner Olympia Dukakis and Emmy-Award winner Debra Messing will join renowned theatre and film director and Tony-Award-winner Doug Hughes to toast the career of playwright, screenwriter, and film director, John Patrick Shanley, at the Irish American Writers and Artists (IAW&A) annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award celebration on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 at the Manhattan Club, upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s, 800 7th Avenue (at 52nd Street), New York City, starting at 6 p.m.

“Like Marlon Brando did to acting, John Shanley entered the theatre world and shook it to its core,” Debra Messing said. “His voice is powerful and distinct, by turns kinetic and lyrical. He is prolific and expansive. A gift to us all.”

John Patrick Shanley, winner of the artistic “trifecta” of a Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar and a Tony Award will add the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award to his list of honors at the Irish American Writers & Artists annual celebration. He has written over 20 plays including Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and Savage in Limbo.  For his play, Doubt, he received both a Tony and the Pulitzer Prize.  As a screenwriter he received an Academy Award for best original screenplay for Moonstruck.  The film version of Doubt, in which he directed Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay.

“John Patrick Shanley shares a great deal with Eugene O’Neill,” said Doug Hughes, who will present the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award to Shanley, “an Irish-American upbringing, a staggeringly varied body of astonishing work, and a fine indifference to popular and critical whims.  Just as O’Neill did, John set out to become an essential American dramatic poet.  He has succeeded.  It’s fitting that we honor him with an award named for our nation’s greatest playwright.” 

Doug Hughes has had an acclaimed career as a Broadway director and won the 2005 Tony Award for his direction of Doubt.  He will be directing Shanley’s new play, Outside Mullingar, on Broadway in January 2014. 

Olympia Dukakis, a vital, respected actor of the classic and contemporary stage won an Oscar for her portrayal of Cher’s sardonic mother in the romantic comedy Moonstruck (1987). Her “roasting” of Shanley at the O’Neill Award is highly anticipated. 

Debra Messing is widely known for her television roles in Will & GraceThe Starter Wife, and Smash.  She will star in the Broadway production of Outside Mullingar, and will read from a selection of Shanley’s works during the O’Neill Award festivities. 

IAW&A Boardmember and comedian Sarah Fearon will act as Master of Ceremonies and Celtic songstress Ashley Davis will conclude the program with a song. 

The Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2009 to honor the accomplishments of a writer, actor, musician, or cultural institution that has sustained a body of work that best exemplifies the level of integrity maintained by O’Neill. Past honorees include Pulitzer-prize winning author William Kennedy, actor Brian Dennehy, Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly of New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre, and folksinger Judy Collins.

The award, created by Tiffany & Co., will be presented Mon., Oct. 21, 2013 at a generous hors d’œuvre and open bar reception and ceremony at the Manhattan Club above Rosie O’Grady’s in Times Square, just a few blocks from where Eugene O’Neill was born. Ticketing information is available at the IAW&A website.

For more information on the IAW&A, visit the organization’s website at or its Facebook page for updates and information.

MEDIA CONTACT: John Lee, John Lee MEDIA, (0) 917-475-6981, (c) 917-653-3444.



October 2, 2013

Irish Film New York and Irish American Writers & Artists co-present “When Ali Came to Ireland”

Filed under: Events,Film,Social Activism,Theater,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 7:54 pm
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Irish Film New York and Irish American Writers & Artists co-present When Ali Came to Ireland, which tells the story of Ali’s visit to Ireland in 1972 at the height of his career.  Self-proclaimed ‘World’s Strongest Publican’ Michael ‘Butty’ Sugrue pulled off a massive sporting coup when he convinced Ali’s promoter he was good for the $300k down-payment required to bring Ali to Ireland.  He then largely paid for the proceedings in beer-stained bank notes. The trip had a huge impact on those Ali met and, some say, on the man himself and how he viewed white people in the aftermath of his conversion to Islam.  When Ali Came to Ireland screens Sunday, October 6 at 6:00pm.

With the support of Glucksman Ireland House, Irish Film New York’s third season of contemporary Irish cinema also includes Run & Jump, Made in Belfast, Silence, King of the Travellers and The Hardy Bucks Movie. Irish American Writers & Artists members can buy discounted $10 tickets (normally $12) here for any of the films by using the promotional code IAWA.

Irish Film New York, NYU’s Cantor Center, East 8th St, NYC. October 3-6, 2013.

October 1, 2013

IAW&A Member Kevin McPartland’s Launch for “Brownstone Dreams,” October 13th at the Cell

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:18 pm

IAW&A member and frequent Salon presenter Kevin McPartland’s Brownstone Dreams has been published by Boann Books and Media!

Join us at the Cell Theatre on Sunday, October 13 from 3 to 5 pm to for the book launch celebration.  Enjoy tales of the mean streets of 1960s Brooklyn, doo wop music, sandwiches, drinks, and fun!

Brownstone Dreams, set in Park Slope of the early 1960s, tells the story of Bobby Dutton, a decent 17-year-old boy who gets himself deeper and deeper into trouble after he steals the gun of Vincent Casseo, a violent criminal from the neighborhood. Later, Bobby finds Vincent’s brother bleeding from a stab wound and gets him to a hospital, saving his life and ensuring the friendship of Bobby and Vincent. His new friendship with the Casseos alienates Bobby from his girlfriend, Cathy, and from his old friends at the schoolyard. When Vincent kills a man at a bar who owed his father money, Bobby and Vincent go into hiding in Lower Manhattan, with Cathy, some Brooklyn hitmen, and the cops all looking for the two boys…


Where: The Cell Theatre 338 West 23rd Street

When: Sunday, October 13 from 3 to 5

Admission: FREE


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