Irish American Writers & Artists

December 22, 2015

12.15.15 IAW&A Salon: An abundance of talent, heart and Christmas cheer

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 7:27 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer



Marni Rice

The late December Salon at the Cell has quickly become a holiday tradition for members and guests who know there will be an extraordinary array of talent and heart as well as abundant IAW&A-style Christmas cheer. Curated and co-hosted by Honor Molloy and John Kearns, the program began with Marni Rice performing a haunting original accordion composition.

joeJoseph Goodrich

Playwright, actor and expert on mystery writing, Joseph Goodrich then showed his tender side with the story “The New Boy,” a reminiscence of Christmas in a small Minnesota town, circa 1970. Funny and poignant, Joe’s tale prompted smiles and tears.

kevinKevin Holohan

Kevin Holohan brought to life Lar Lawrence and Con Conway, two electricians escaped from his novel The Brothers’ Lot. Quintessential Dubliners, Lar is the straight man and Con, the one convinced that not only is the glass half empty but its contents will probably give you cholera, dysentery, Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever, maybe all together. Con’s twisted view of Christmas was a hilarious downward spiral of misanthropic naysaying, defeat and begrudgery.

More of Kevin and the book at:   New video on


Kira Citron

If you’re thinking of attending Art Basel Miami, the global art world’s invasion of South Beach during the first week of December, you may want to read Kira Citron’s essay about her visit, “Nowhere Else Do Naked Emperors Have Such Fabulous Clothes.”


Seamus Scanlon

Author Seamus Scanlon read a flash fiction piece, which he says, is more suited to Easter than Christmas. You can read the chilling “The Resurrection Love Song” “in its entirety at  You can also see a promotional video for his play “The McGowan Trilogy” at


Maeve Price

Singer/writer/actor Maeve Price told the story of her recent singing engagement in a local cemetery. Despite flying sheet music, a hole in her Civil War era dress, a chat with Frederick Douglass and a cameo appearance by a local raccoon, Maeve lived to tell the tale with a little singing and a dash of graveyard humor.  In February, Maeve will appear in the play “The Donahue Sisters” by Geraldine Aron. She’ll supply the details as available

brendanBrendan Costello Jr.

IAW&A board member Brendan Costello Jr. read an excerpt of his novel-in-progress Winning. The scene features a middle aged CEO sitting alone in his fancy office, where he is visited by the ghost of his recently deceased father. Brendan chose this scene for its shades of a famous encounter, from that seasonal classic by Charles Dickens.

honHonor Molloy

Honor Molloy closed the first half of the evening with her wonderful “Sixpence the Stars” (a/ka “The Little Oranges”) from her novel Smarty Girl.  This comical re-telling of the Nativity story is a Salon holiday favorite. You can see it here


Honor Molloy

hon mark

Mark Butler and Honor Molloy poetically passing the hat



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Mark William Butler

Speaking of holiday favorites, IAW&A Board member, playwright and composer Mark William Butler confessed to his obsession with writing Christmas musicals, especially Bad Christmas Sweater.


Eilin O’Dea

Classically trained actor and soprano Eilin O’Dea stopped by to present a segment from James Joyce’s “The Dead” from her portrayal of Joyce’s Women.



Marni Rice

Marni Rice performed two of her own compositions for accordion,Complainte de la Femme Toute Seule,” featured in Robert Haufrecht’s film Subterranean Love which premiered at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival. Her other selection was from the score to Magdala: Stories from the Net and the Sea about the life of Mary Magdalene. This collaboration by The Xio Evans Marni Rice Experimental Dance Theatre will play at the Wow Café Theatre on East 4th Street on April 8th and 9th. For details and tickets, please visit


John Kearns

Salon producer (for three years!) John Kearns chose a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. Set at Christmastime in the early days of legalized gambling, the Logans visit Atlantic City for a weekend getaway, which the wife hopes will be a romantic one. However, the husband stays out playing the slot machines and drinking with his friend and falls asleep as soon as he returns to the hotel room.

On behalf of the IAW&A Board of Directors, John also presented Cat Dwyer with a B&H Photo gift card to thank her for her 4 1/2 years of taking salon photos.

sarah jon

Sarah Fearon and Jon Gordon


Jon Gordon

In their holiday duet tradition, Sarah Fearon brought her deadpan holiday wishes, a spin on the Year in Review set to the jazzy tune of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” performed by Jon Gordon on sax. Then Jon gave us a sax solo rendition of the Vince Guaraldi song, “Christmas Time is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas.


Larry Kirwan

Our chieftain, IAW&A president, Larry Kirwan paid special thanks to the Board, the volunteers, and the members for their contributions to a successful year, which in addition to regularly scheduled Salons and road Salons, featured two outstanding special nights, The Amazing Library Variety Show fundraiser and the 100th Salon Celebration.

Larry sang Ewan MacColl’s “Ballad of the Carpenter” which begins:

Jesus was a working man
And a hero you will hear
Born in the town of Bethlehem
At the turning of the year


Kathleen Donohoe

Kathleen Donohoe read an excerpt of a short story titled “Kringle,” about Cait, wife of Kristopher, a native of Ireland who is lonely in the North and in her marriage. We are excited to note that Kathleen’s debut novel, Ashes of Fiery Weather, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in August 2016.


Karl Scully

Irish tenor Karl Scully didn’t come with a Christmas song tonight; he came with a sad love song entitled,“Knocknashee,” but we’re grateful whenever Karl can join us.


Malachy McCourt

In closing, we had a rousing Gospel according to Malachy McCourt, who calls himself God’s atheist advisor.

Thanks to Honor and John and Cat and all the presenters for creating another smash Holiday Salon.


No room in the inn, but a little on the stairs

Here is the schedule for 2016 salons:

We look forward to those and to the road salons planned for Long Island, upstate Pennsylvania, Saint Louis, Washington, DC, Belfast (online) and other points unknown …

Merry Christmas and see you in 2016!


December 8, 2015

IAW&A Road Salon at the Hudson Valley Irish Center on 12/4: An Irish House Party

Filed under: Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 8:27 pm

by John Kearns
Photos by Daisy Kearns

On Friday December 4, 2015,  a group of IAW&A artists from New York City traveled to Verplanck, NY to share the stage with artists from the Hudson valley.  Dan Dennehy of the Hudson Valley Irish Center was our gracious host and the Irish Consulate of New York was generous enough to provide funding for transportation and other expenses.


Dan Dennehy

Dan Dennehy welcomed everyone to the salon.


John Kearns

John Kearns introduced IAW&A and read an excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds.


Kathleen Donohoe

Kathleen Donohoe read from her forthcoming novel, Ashes of Fiery Weather.


Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy, “the Bard of the Hudson Valley,” performed two songs including a moving original about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


Ray O’Hanlon

Ray O’Hanlon, Senior Editor of the Irish Echo, spoke about immigration and the difficult process of writing books.

marie & krista

Marie Reilly and Krista Charles

Marie Reilly, Protocol Officer of the Irish Consulateand Krista Charles played some traditional Irish and American tunes including, “Ashokan Farewell.”


Delicious food during the break!


Irish Business Organization President, Sean McNeill, enjoyed the salon.


Shane Cahill

Vice Deputy Irish Consul General of New York, Shane Cahill, spoke a few words of welcome.

john mcd

John McDonagh

John McDonagh presented a scene from his play, Cabtivist, in which Stephen Fry visits an Italian social club in Queens.


Guenevere Donohue

Surprise performer, Guenevere Donohue, sang an original Christmas song.


Marianne McShane

Marianne McShane told a traditional story about Saint Brigid and Bethlehem.

tim D

Tim Dwyer

Tim Dwyer presented his poetry in English and original music in Irish.


Ray Bermingham

Ray Bermingham sang a song and recited Percy French’s, “Galloping Hogan.”


Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt shared his memories about Christmas, including his receiving a toy train 75 years after praying for it.

See you at the IAW&A Christmas Salon at the Cell Theatre, 338 W. 23rd St., at 7 pm on December 15th!  Honor Molloy and John Kearns will co-host.

December 7, 2015

12.1.15 IAW&A Salon: Magic Mix of Talent

Filed under: Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Social Activism,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 6:11 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas 

The early December IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia had that magic mix of talent and personalities that makes each Salon unique. The night’s offerings ranged from intensely felt social commentary to satire, comedy, poetry and rock’n’roll.

kearns    John Kearns

John Kearns, Salon producer and host, welcomed the group to the first December salon and kicked off the night with a passage from his novel,Worlds. In the continuing story of the Logan family, Sarsfield Logan, S.J. explains in a letter to his sister that he was raised with two faiths – in Catholicism and in American social mobility. His faith in the latter is shaken, however, when he observes life in the slums near Greenwich Village and the ornate buildings on Riverside Drive owned by the factory owners who exploit the slum dwellers.


Michael Fitzpatrick

Michael Fitzpatrick’s satirical blog “Humans of Irish America” features real interviews with imaginary immigrants. Tonight he read one piece from the blog, and on a more serious note, a poem about the events in Paris two weeks ago, and another poem, about dropping his 5-year-old son at school. Find them on his website:


Rosina Fernhoff

Inspired by Malachy McCourt’s impassioned speech at the last Bar Thalia Salon, actor Rosina Fernhoff created a monologue from The Visit by the Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Rosina describes the piece as “dark, sardonic and profound play about corruption, greed and the disintegration of human value.” One stunning line: “The world made me a whore. I will make the world a brothel.”


Brent Shearer

Brent Shearer, making his IAW&A debut, read his story about getting an Irish passport and his dream of going on the dole in Ireland. Let’s just say he got the passport. A writer who blogs about going to a lot of readings at, Brent says “So when I say your Tuesday night thing at Bar Thalia rocked, I’m speaking ex cathedra.”

john mcd

John McDonagh

John McDonagh did a segment from his solo play Cabtivist. Tonight he compared the life of a Central Park carriage horse to that of a NYC cabdriver. Guess which one gets medical check-ups, mandated time-off, lives on the Upper West Side and retires to a stud farm? You’ll have a chance to see the full show at The Cell on December 16. Tickets at


Socializing during the break


Mark Butler enjoying the Salon


The supportive IAW&A Salon audience



Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher read a chapter from one of her novels in progress, Gaitham Hall, a thriller with supernatural undertones. The advantage of having two books in progress, she says, is that she can turn to the thriller for respite when she gets frustrated with her more serious novel. Maureen entertained the audience with the banter of two main characters in a scene from Gaitham Hall, set in the midlands of Ireland.


Jenifer Margaret Kelly

Jenifer Margaret Kelly calls herself  “mainly a playwright” but she’s presented several beautiful poems at recent Salons. Tonight she read three more: “Charcoal Autumn Sunday,” “ You Could Have Written This Poem” and “Evened Out.”


Judy Doris

Sister act: Judy Doris read her sister Adrienne Foran’s charming story “The Princess Bus,” about the love between the M15 bus and her driver —from the bus’ point of view.


Honor Molloy

Author/playwright/actor Honor Molloy delivered a passionate reading of her Irish Echo article extolling Irish women in New York City’s theatre scene and their contribution to New York’s cultural life. Her essay is particularly relevant given the controversy raging about the Abbey Theater and its signal failure to adequately represent a female perspective during their 2016 Season. Its yearlong tribute to the 1916 Rebellion and its aftermath features ten plays, with only one authored by a woman.


John Paul Skocik

Musician/singer/songwriter John Paul Skocik closed out the night playing original songs. John’s former band on the self-titled album “Girl To Gorilla,” is available on ITunes and at ♫ Girl to Gorilla – Girl to Gorilla. Listen @cdbaby  John is writing more songs and working on a short play, and beginning a novel, which he hopes to share at a future Salon.

Mark your calendar:  December 15 is our IAW&A Christmas Salon co-hosted by Honor Molloy and John Kearns at The Cell at 7 pm. With a party after the salon!

Blog at