Irish American Writers & Artists

April 29, 2014

On the Red Carpet!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 10:51 pm

kathcalla danny
 On The Red Carpet, Kathy Callahan with Danny Aiello, April 24. Kathy’s short documentary film “Mystery Of Faith and Intention: Springsteen and I with Terry Magovern” was selected for showing at the Ridgewood Guild Film Festival, NJ, April 24. Ms. Callahan, LCSW has been a major supporter of IAW&A, and her film was first shown at IAW&A Salon.

Mary Lou Quinlan’s “The God Box” goes from IAW&A Salon to NY Times Bestseller to Fringe Festival

Mary Lou Quinlan’s one woman play “The God Box, A Daughter’s Story” will be featured at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh during August.  Mary Lou has been a major supporter of IAW&A, and her first mini-performance of what would become the play came in one of the early IAW&A Salons back in 2012.

The God Box, A Daughter’s Story


 Solo show based on New York Times bestselling book , coming to Assembly Roxy at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014

“A beautiful story… from beginning to end.”  –Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

  “Entertains, moves and inspires. Will stick with you forever.” — Jim Lehrer, PBS NewsHour

(NEW YORK, NY) – Like many people who lose a loved one, author Mary Lou Quinlan, an over-achieving and devoted daughter, struggled to come to terms with the death of her mother—until she found an unexpected gift from the woman she missed so deeply.

In her New York Times bestselling book “The God Box, Sharing my mother’s gift of faith, love and letting go”(Worthy Publishing, April 2012), Quinlan shares the story of her remarkable discovery of her mother’s “God Boxes” filled with hundreds of private petitions written by the very hand that had slipped away.The notes, scribbled on torn pages and Post-its, revealed things about her mother that she never knew.

The book became the inspiration for her solo show, “The God Box, A Daughter’s Story.” Performed by Quinlan and co-written and directed by Martha Wollner of NYC’s LAByrinth Theater Company, this theatrical piece follows Quinlan’s journey out of loss, triggered by the handwritten notes. The performance takes audiences on an emotional roller-coaster, richocheting from grief to laughter to the greatest human challenge: learning to let go.   Quinlan, a charismatic storyteller, has performed the show in more than 40 venues around the US, including The Cherry Lane Theater in New York City, the Kimmel Center Innovation Studio in Philadelphia and the Warehouse in Greenville, South Carolina, as well as the NYC EstroGenius Festival in October 2013.


Quinlan will perform the show at the East to Edinburgh Festival at the 59 East 59th Theater in New York on July 22 and 23 before heading to the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 where the play will be staged at the Assembly Roxy Downstairs Theater at 12:20Pm every day July 31 through August 25, (with the exception of August 11 and 18).

Visit for photos, videos and information.

 Mary Lou Quinlan has written inspirational features for national magazines including Real Simple, O, the Oprah Magazine, and More, and is the author of the books Just Ask  a Woman, Time Off for Good Behavior, and What She’s Not Telling You, as well as her latest, “The God Box, Sharing my mother’s gift of faith, love and letting go.” A leading expert on female consumer behavior and founder and CEO of the mar­keting consultancy Just Ask a Woman, Quinlan has keynoted hundreds of conferences around the world, and appeared on television programs such as CBS’ “Early Show,” “Good Morning America,” and NBC’s “Today,” as well as a season as a judge on the Simon Cowell, ABC-TV reality competition “American Inventor.” She holds an MBA from Fordham University and received an hon­orary doctorate in communications from her alma mater, Saint Joseph’s Uni­versity in Philadelphia, as well as from four other leading US universities. Quinlan and her husband, Joe live in New York City and Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with their dog, Rocky.

Martha Wollner: A member of New York’s Labyrinth Theater Company and Your Name Here Queer Theater Company, Wollner has been telling story in both theatre and film for over thirty years. She has worked with world renown documentary film makers Michael Apted (Seven), Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens), Barbara Kopple (Harlan County), both the Royal Shakespeare Company’s artistic directors,Michael Boyd and Gregory Doran, and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and countless New York theater stages, including The Public Theater, The Cherry Lane Theater and 59E59. Her own plays have appeared in regional theater reading series from New York to New Orleans. She will also be performing at the 2014 Last Frontier Theater Festival in Alaska.


The God Box Team

Stage Manager Kia Rogers

Sound Designer Betsy Rhodes

Lighting Designer Kia Rogers

Projection Designer Chris Kateff

Production Designer Justin Townsend

Production Coordinator Nidia Medina


April 24, 2014

IAW&A’s First Transatlantic Salon: Prose, Poetry, & Song Across the Broad Atlantic, 4/15

Filed under: Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:54 pm

“…A pioneering event…” Dublin poets share the “stage” with IAW&A members at the first Transatlantic Salon on April 15.

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Our enterprising IAW&A Salon producer, John Kearns, has not only taken the IAW&A salon on the road to Washington, DC, Fairfield, Connecticut and Philadelphia, he’s gone international!

On Tuesday, April 15, the first Transatlantic Salon featured IAW&A members at the Cell in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood sharing the “stage” with Dublin writers live-streaming from the Twisted Pepper Café on historic Middle Abbey Street.

John shared organizing and hosting duties with Sarah Lundberg, a publisher, writer and founding member of Seven Towers Agency.  An organization that celebrates and promotes Irish and Irish-American writing, Seven Towers has goals similar to IAW&A’s Mission. They are an independent, non-profit publisher and organizer of monthly readings, open mics, podcasts, and local (Dublin) history events. Find them at

Last year IAW&A held a celebration of Seven Towers’ seventh anniversary at our salon at the Cell, and this year, they joined us in person (well, on screen).

poet1Dublin writers joined us via Google Hangouts

The Dublin group, poets all, included Eamonn Lynskey whose work has been widely published since it first appeared in the 1980s in The Irish Press. His most recent collection And Suddenly the Sun Again is published by Seven Towers and available on Amazon. Visit Eamonn’s blog at

Glasgow-born Liz McSkeane has written numerous poems, short stories and radio scripts, which have been published in newspapers, magazines and literary journals including The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review and broadcast on RTE Radio. Liz’s poems have been anthologized in The White Page and Slow Time: 100 Poems to Take You There. Snow at the Opera House is her full collection.

Well known in Dublin as a poet and accomplished visual artist, Alma Brayden is a member of the Dalkey Writers’ Workshop.  Seven Towers published Alma’s first poetry collection, Prism.

Another widely published and praised Dublin poet, Kate O’Shea was shortlisted for the prestigious Patrick Kavanaugh Poetry Award.

A member of the Dalkey Writers’ Workshop, Phil Lynch started writing poetry while still at school and has been involved with poetry readings in Ireland and Belgium. His work has appeared in magazines and newspapers and has been featured on on national and local radio. Phil is a regular participant in spoken word and open mic events in Dublin. Phil will be joining us in person at the next IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on May 6th at 6 pm.


Impressive afternoon crowd at NYC’s Cell Theatre

The New York group presented poetry, fiction, and song.


Tom Phelan

Irish born, New York based Tom Phelan read a poignant excerpt from his World War I novel The Canal Bridge, in which a young Irish woman learns that her fiancé “has come back to Ballyrannel after walking home from the War.” Published in the U.S. this month by Arcade, and called by Books Ireland a “powerful and deeply affecting novel”The Canal Bridge tells the story of two Irish stretcher-bearers–and the lovers and families they leave behind.”

Nearly a quarter of a million young Irish men served in the British army and fought in the trenches. When Tom Phelan was growing up in County Laois, he knew many veterans of the Great War–five hundred men in his small town of Mountmellick had been in the war and at least fifty had died. Yet due to the political landscape of the time, their sacrifice went unrecognized. With The Canal Bridge, Tom hopes to help give them their honored place in Irish history. More at


Mark William Butler

Mark William Butler shared his unusual views on beer, volleyball and sex on the beach in his satirical short story, Cool and Clean and Crisp (aka Heaven Is A Beer Commercial), which originally appeared in Paramour Magazine and was later included in the Best American Erotica book series, edited by Susie Bright (Touchstone/Simon & Shuster). Mark’s piece was mentioned in a review by Publishers Weekly and later cited by Ms. Bright in her book, How to Write a Dirty Story. Mark is currently available to write more dirty stories on a work-for-hire basis – hourly rates – mention this blog and receive a 50% discount!


Drucilla Wall

Drucilla Wall, poet, professor and award winning writer, shared some of her poems. Drucilla is truly transatlantic, living in the Midwest, and spending summers in Wexford and Galway. Visit


 John Kearns

John Kearns read a short excerpt from Worlds, a multi-generational Irish-American novel.  Seamus Logan tells a story as he crosses the Atlantic from Ireland to America. Seamus describes how he rowed across Killary Bay from Mayo to Galway, from home to exile, from restraint to freedom, from night to day …


Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon read from American Mastery, his novel about a family in upstate New York. In this dramatic excerpt, the sons prepare to leave for Germany on business. Their father, who was wounded fighting the Germans in North Africa during WWII and resents the Germans, bullies his sons into not going. During the fight that ensues, the father, recovering from heart surgery, falls to floor clutching his chest. His sons and wife rush him to a hospital where he dies.


Gary Cahill

Crime fiction writer Gary Cahill (Mystery Writers of America–New York, International Thriller Writers) read from two short stories based on his life experience. The as-yet unpublished Rollover IRA is about a very hard man raising money for his cause on the streets of New York. In Ninety Miles, A Million Miles, childhood friendship is challenged by hatred and revenge during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This story is published online and in an e-book anthology by Plan B Magazine. Gary and his friend, engineer Tom Richter, are also currently creating and reading audio for the Plan B podcasts.


Ryan Winter Cahill

As a parting gift to our friends in Dublin, Ryan Winter Cahill sang two songs. She chose “The Foggy Dew” by Canon Charles O’Neill in light of the anniversary of the Easter Rising. Demonstrating her range and talent, Ryan ended with the more lighthearted and lilting “Will I Ever Tell You?” from that all-American musical comedy, The Music Man. The Dubliners were as enchanted as we were with Ryan’s performance.

Sorry to report that we don’t have the expected video from the Salon, but you can be sure that nothing could spoil our transatlantic good will and mutual appreciation. We look forward to our next time,  and thank John and Sarah and all the participants for a wonderful afternoon/evening.  Congratulations!

By the way, should you be in Dublin, Sarah encourages you to visit the Twisted Pepper Café, which is hospitable to artists and writers.

Should you be in New York, join us at the Salon at Bar Thalia, on Tuesday, May 6, at 6pm. See you there!

April 21, 2014

IAWA Member Kathy Callahan’s Short Film in Ridgewood Guild Film Festival

Filed under: Film,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 2:31 pm

On Thursday evening, April 24, 2014, Kathy Callahan’s short film will be shown as part of The Ridgewood Guild Film Festival.


Come out and support Kathy and enjoy her film! 

April 17, 2014

IAW&A Salon in DC, “Cultural Bridges”: An Evening of Artistic, Cultural, & Personal Connections, 4/4/14

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 10:00 pm

by John Kearns
Photos by Cat Dwyer

On Friday, April 4, 2014, Irish American Writers and Artists (IAW&A) held its  first “road Salon” in  Washington, DC at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and the evening turned out to be one of true artistic, cultural, and personal connection.   Because UDC is considered a “historically black college,” the event was billed, “Cultural Bridges: DC Salon.”  The Salon was organized by Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin of the English department at UDC and myself, the Salon Producer for the IAW&A.  Travel and hotel expenses for the New York artists were generously provided for the New York artists by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Ireland.


Arriving at Union Station (left to right): Sheila Walsh, Sarah Fearon, John Kearns, Brendan Costello

DC Salon, 4/4/14

 Dr. Helene Krauthamer

English Professor Helene Krauthamer started off the proceedings by welcoming everyone to the Salon.  Then I was asked to say a few words about the IAW&A and its mission as a secular, progressive, arts organization focusing on the Irish American experience.

Since it was the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, I addressed the theme of “Cultural Bridges” by telling a story about the night when Barack Obama won his first presidential election.  I went out on 125th Street in Harlem, where I live, and took part in the revelry that seemed more like a celebration of a sports teams’ winning a championship than anything to do with politics.  Drivers were beeping car horns. Strangers were high-fiving one another.

As I stood on the corner watching all of the commotion, an older African-American woman stopped next to me said, “This is what Dr. King died for.”

She paused and then added, “It’s time for all of us to stop being afraid of each other.”

So it was time to dispense with any fears and share our artistic work with one another and have fun.  I acted as MC for the New York artists and Dr. Turpin introduced the DC artists.


Sean Carlson

New Yorker Sean Carlson kicked off the DC salon with two readings that provided a glimpse into his first book — a nonfictional narrative of love and loss through a family story from Ireland to the United Kingdom and the United States. Sharing details about the research process and his travels while writing, Sean read the opening pages of his manuscript and skipped ahead to a particularly memorable scene from London’s Kilburn neighborhood in the 1960s. Learn more and join his email list for updates here:

DC Salon, 4/4/14

Francies Stephenson

Francies Stephenson explained how she comes from a multicultural family background and that she has readily identified with the African-American and Caribbean parts of her identity.  She read about getting to know her other relatives in Barbados and Guyana and the difficulty of leaving both places in her short story, “Board Time 0920”:

DC Salon, 4/4/14

Brendan Costello, Alexander Turro, and Sheila Walsh

Sheila Walsh presented her short play, “Looking for Brando.” New Yorker Brendan Costello shared the stage with student Alexander Turro who played the part of Jack Kerouac very well.  The play went over quite well despite the spontaneous casting and minimal rehearsal.

DC Salon, 4/4/14

Toinnette Marshall

UDC Senior, research assistant to Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin, and lifelong Washingtonian Toinnette Marshall presented a poem entitled, “The Dream.”  It was inspired by a crazy dream she had that would not leave her mind; so she decided to write about the dream or as much of it that she could remember. She will be graduating in May with a BA in English.

I followed Toinnette’s poem with “Transmigration of Soul,” a poem excerpted from my novel-in-progress, Worlds, and published in the North American Review in 2012.  The poem examines how African music brought to America on slave ships and Irish music brought to America on coffin ships blended together to create the free and lively music of rock ‘n’ roll.


Camila Fraiz

An aspiring translator and enthusiast for the world of languages, Camila Fraiz shared “Come, My Mulatta”, a Brazilian Samba translated into English by American poet Elizabeth Bishop during her time living in Rio de Janeiro.  “Come, My Mulatta” celebrates women of color.​


Marie Reilly

DC Salon, 4/4/14

Brian Gaffney

With guitarist Brian Gaffney, Marie Reilly, a Leitrim-style fiddler who comes from eight generations of fiddle players, performed a couple of tunes from her CD, The Anvil, dedicated to the memory of her father.

After the music, we took a break and enjoyed snacks and soft drinks provided by the UDC English department.


Sarah Fearon

Comedian Sarah Fearon started the second half with a five-minute set of material that had the whole audience – young and old, faculty, students, and visitors laughing.


Keisha Brown

Keisha Brown then took a seat on the stage and read us some of her poetry.


Brendan Costello

Brendan Costello, a creative writing instructor at The City College of New York, presented the middle section of his story “Circus Brunch at Zapruder’s,” in which the chickens come home to roost for the narrator, who works at a restaurant with a theatrical experience built around the Kennedy assassination.


Dr. Wilmer Johnson

Dr. Wilmer Johnson, Professor, Health Education Program at UDC and President of the UDC Faculty Association gave an impassioned reading of “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou.   A few of the English majors in the audience mouthed the words to the poem as Dr. Johnson read.


Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin

IAW&A member Cherie Ann Turpin Associate Professor, shared an excerpt from her essay “Kissing Soul, Tasting Love,” published in Corset Magazine, Issue #3 in 2012, and her poem “Inamorata” from her essay “Left Behind” in Corset Magazine #2 in 2012 (  She writes about Afrofuturism, Gender and Sexualities, African and Irish Diasporas, and Popular Culture (  Her current projects include a chapter on Black Feminism and Afrofuturism for a Black Studies anthology, as well as a book-length work on the actor/activist Gabriel Byrne. She will present her essay “Reimagining Gabriel Byrne: Heteronormativity, Irish Diaspora, and Celebrity Culture” at the PCA/ACA National Conference in Chicago on April 17, 2014.  


Marie Reilly was kind enough to let me play a tune with her

To conclude the IAW&A DC Salon, Marie Reilly returned to the stage and I took out my guitar.  We played the traditional Irish tune, “The Kesh Jig” and some of the students told me they were tempted to get up and dance.

After the Salon, almost all of the presenters and some of the audience members headed over to Murphy’s Pub, where guitarist Brian Gaffney was playing, to celebrate the unqualified success of our first DC Salon.


(l to r) Marie Reilly, Sarah Fearon, Francies Stephenson, Brendan Costello, Toinnette Marshall, Sean Carlson, Dr. Wilmer Johnson, John Kearns, Sheila Walsh, Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin, and Keisha Brown  


At Murphy’s Pub


The gang WITH Cat Dwyer (but WITHOUT her photographic skills) at Union Station


Two-page spread on the event in the Irish World

April 9, 2014

Lively and Varied April Fools’ IAW&A Salon Not Trivial, April 1, 2014

Filed under: Essay,Literature,Music,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 11:41 pm

by Mary Lannon
Photos by Kathy Callahan

It seemed fitting that at the April Fool’s Day salon at Café Thalia two presenters led us in sing-a-longs of two very silly songs.


Ryan Winter Cahill ended the first half with a Shel Silverstein ditty called “You’re Always Welcome At Our House” that cheerfully invited all to be murdered.


Not to be outdone, Malachy McCourt ended the second half with “The River Saile” — “Weela, Wallia Don’t Stick Knives in Babbies’ Heads.”

Cahill began her presentation on a more serious note with “Once I Had a Sweetheart.”  She can be reached at


The evening kicked off with Mary Lannon reading a short piece, “The cat has become my adversary,” and a piece from her completed young adult novel.  Please check out the novel web site and friend her character on Facebook:


Gary Cahill (Ryan’s Dad), perhaps, showing a Cahill sense of humor, read a darkly absurdist ending to his as-yet-unpublished crime short story, “The Cuddle Puddle.”  It explained how a wedding ring stolen from a cremation urn would not be returned to the jar as the ex-killer-for-hire tavern owner requested.  Read other stories and listen to audio at


First-time presenter Tim Dwyer began by singing “Prelude,” a poem of Synge’s that he put to music.  He then read two of his previously published poems that are part of his work in progress, Messages from the Irish Disapora.


Next Mary Pat Kelly reported the wonderful news that her novel will be published next St. Patrick’s Day.  The historical novel recounts Maude Gonne’s adventures in Paris.


Our host John Kearns went next reading from his novel in progress, Worlds, in which Sarsfield Logan, S.J. proposes to his Jesuit superiors that his school, Xavier High School, work with a local charity, the “Italian University,” run by Irish-American socialite Annie Leary. He visits the school and wants to help the poor immigrant children to attend Xavier. However, he’s disappointed in his superiors who are willing to send tutors but not scholarships to help the children.  More information is at



After the break came Sarah Fearon who had the crowd laughing with her “notes.”



Tom Mahon shared another excerpt from his novel in progress, Mastery.


The new month inspired Jack Di Monte to sing two songs about April – “April In Paris” by Vernon Duke and Yip Harburg, and “I’ll Remember April” by Gene De Paul and Don Raye. He was thinking “swing” and “bossa nova” in his head as he sang them and hoped that came across to the audience.


Chris Bradley told a moving story about an insurance defense attorney who still carries wounds from the Gulf War during 1991. The man he described looks in the mirror every day, 20 years out, and still sees the 19 year old boy in the uniform he wore who killed an Iraqi Soldier in a fox hole after the cease fire. While Bradley did serve in the Army during that war the story is a work of fiction. Bradley closed by requesting we be careful where we send our soldiers to defend us.”


Singer John Skocik, lead singer and song writer for the band, Girl to Gorilla, wowed the crowd with one of his orginal songs on acoustic guitar.

See you at the Cell at 3 pm for our Transatlantic IAW&A Salon with 7 Towers Agency in Dublin!

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