by Kathy Callahan, LCSW
Photos by Cat Dwyer
The IAW&A Salon on Tuesday, March 18th, at the Cell was a evening of great talent, exciting debut presentations, and inspiring stories of writers and their books finding publishers. And, despite occurring just after Paddy’s Day, the Salon had a full house!
The ever generous writer and IAW&A Co-Director Kathleen Donohoe kicked off the evening with a poignant reading from her novel, The Ashes of Fiery Weather, which is about the inextricable link among six generations of women from a Brooklyn, NY family of firefighters. The title comes from the Wallace Stevens’ poem, “Our Stars Come from Ireland.” Everyone in the IAW&A is thrilled to hear that Kathleen’s novel sold to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt just seven days before St. Patrick’s Day 2014 and will be published in the Fall of 2015. Congratulations. Kathleen!
Padraig E. Murphy
“Thank you for the opportunity to present a bit of my book at IAWA Salon in New York City, said Padraig Murphy, a first time presenter. Padraig read an excerpt from his novel, Seanchai – The Storyteller. Padraig’s story is set near the fictitious village of Ballyholt, located at the western end of the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry. His main character, Brendan Cormac, is a gifted storyteller and Irish linguist. Brendan has an uncanny knack for telling stories that have a special impact to his listeners. Padraig resides in Florida and Roscommon, Ireland.
Stephanie Silber read from her second novel, The Dark Side of Time, a psychological thriller/horror mashup. Aspiring actor Sunny has moved from Brooklyn to the ‘burbs with her husband and toddler to a fixer-upper cottage with the obligatory dark history. The mysterious Shepherd, a former Green Beret who quotes poetry and materializes at will, is caretaker at the church complex next door, living in the recently vacated convent. In this excerpt, Sunny has been offered the role of a lifetime; mulling it, she is transported by Shepherd into a vision of stardom that causes her to make a fateful decision. Themes explore the possibility of worlds beyond our own, and how such parallel universes may affect our human experience.
Carmel Harrington, Irish romance novelist and author of Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, told the amusing and amazing tale of how she drafted a novel during a Florida vacation, rewrote it later, published it herself, and saw it become the number 1 E-book in Ireland. Beyond Grace’s Rainbow was picked up by Harper Collins and we were happy to have Carmel visit us during her whirlwind U.S. Saint Patrick’s Day book tour. Carmel read the intriguing prologue to her novel.
Caroline Winterson and Bernard Smith
The indomitable Honor Molloy brought together Dublin actors Bernard Smith and Caroline Winterson to present a scene from her play, Crackskull Row. They artfully played Basher and Dolly Moorigan, speaking in the rhythms and musicality of old Dublin, capturing the humor, the tumbling syllables, and the sudden rage. On the night on which Nelson’s Pillar was blown up, Basher brings home Nelson’s sword, taking it as a sign that he can start his life anew.
Ryan Winter Cahill
Ryan Winter Cahill, daughter of writer Gary Cahill, made her IAW&A Salon debut, singing her own rendition of the Irish Rovers classic, “Bridget Flynn,” giving it a witty, poignant and ringing bell-tone reading. Ms. Cahill, a student of musical theater training and experience, enjoys performing cabaret, light opera, small stage, and Off-Broadway productions. (She longs to tread the boards again and is available to sing her songs at parties, gatherings and clubs.
Full house on March 18th!
Eamon Loingsigh read from Light of the Diddicoy, which was just released on St. Patrick’s Day 2014. Told through the eyes of young Irish immigrant Liam Garrity, Light of the Diddicoy is the saga of Irish gangs on the Brooklyn waterfront in the early part of the 20th century and Liam’s experiences on the mean streets and docks of Brooklyn’s Irish town.
Sean Hickey, in his first appearance at an IAW&A Salon, presented two pieces: one was a vignette entitled “Young Man in Hospital Bed,” in which a boy who has had a serious accident is lying drugged and delirious in a hospital bed, pondering his fate. The second was an excerpt from a novel in progress (or on pause, if you prefer) called The 10,000 Dreams of Nollinger Hartway. In this selection, our titular hero, who in his waking life is plagued with thoughts of committing adultery, dreams that he is swimming in a vast sea towards something of great importance, but he can’t remember what it is, and the mermaid temptresses that beset him prevent him from reaching his far-off, forgotten goal.
John Kearns read a poem called, “Saint Paddy’s Day Past: The Flight of the Soccer Goddess,” which was adapted from his short story, “Making a Visit.” In the poem, the narrator describes an ecstatic moment late on Saint Patrick’s Day when a young woman in a Glasgow Celtic jersey stepdanced on the bar while the crowd sang along with the jukebox. Two days later the narrator had the much more sobering experience of getting laid off. “Ecstatic, indeed!” says regular salon attendee, Kathy L. Callahan.
Truth be told I could listen to Larry Kirwan read, sing or talk about anything all day long. The Black 47 founder, author, playwright, said more than a few words on Tuesday night, about the sheer power of building and nurturing a thriving and enlivening community of artists and writers through the IAW&A Salon. He recalled the annual October Eugene O’Neill gala party honoring the lifetime achievement of a great writer or artist. Transport is playing through April 6 at Irish Repertory Theatre. Director Tony Walton joins co-authors Thomas Keneally author, A Great Shame and Larry Kirwan, author Green Suede Shoes at Irish Repertory Theatre in January 2014. http://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/01-2014/schindlers-list-author-thomas-keneally-and-the-cas_67090.html
Having made his salon debut last month, Sean Carlson shared a glimpse into the background behind his travels while researching and writing his first book, a nonfictional narrative of love and loss through a family story from Ireland to London and the Bronx. Given the proximity to St. Patrick’s Day, he then read his New York Daily News essay on the experience of exile, “An Irish journey, shared by all”: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/irish-journey-shared-article-1.1289971
Bernard Smith closed out the evening with two songs. The first song was an original composition called, “The Day Before”. It’s a kind of letter to his Father with his passing, a tribute. At the end of the song Bernard borrowed a line from a beautiful Irish traditional air called “My Lagan Love” which he so vividly remembers his father singing so well in many a parlor and kitchen of a Sunday morning in and around Dublin.
The title of this blog post was inspired by Great Readings and Performances at the Salon while calling to mind ‘Johnny Cash Singing ’40 Shades of Green’ Live in Dublin Ireland, 1993.
Here are some samples:
Johnny Cash live in Dublin Ireland performing ’40 Shades of Green’ with Carter Family, Kris Kristofferson as the audience sings along. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj8-Ifl5UGc
Accompanied by Carter Family, Kris Kristoforson and a rousing audience sing a long. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj8-Ifl5UGc
See you at our next IAW&A at Bar Thalia at 6 pm (yes, 6 pm) on April 1st! No foolin’!