Irish American Writers & Artists

September 30, 2016

IAW&A Teams with Friends of Firefighters for Kathleen Donohoe’s Book Launch

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 11:46 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer

Kathleen Donohoe’s new novel Ashes of Fiery Weather was launched with a party co-sponsored by Irish American Writers & Artists and Friends of Firefighters at Pier A Harbor House on Monday, 9/22. It was a fitting combination: Kathleen’s an IAW&A board member, and her book depicts six generations of women in a family of New York City firefighters.

kd-launchKathleen Donohoe

Playwright Honor Molloy, who served as host, stage actor Margie Catov and NY Times bestselling author Marian Fontana portrayed characters from the book. Kathleen told them, “It was amazing hearing the stories in your voices.”

Margie Catov,  Marian Fontana

Mary Pat Kelly, speaking on behalf of IAW&A, acknowledged our group’s pride in Kathleen’s success and well-deserved recognition. We thank Brendan Costello who produced the event for IAW&A and brought a great, appreciative audience to that beautiful location on the Battery.

Nancy Carbone, FoF founder and Executive Director, described about how she founded the group after 9/11 to aid the mental health and wellness needs of FDNY firefighters and their families. FDNY Battalion Chief John Dillon expressed his appreciation for their work. Find out more at

Chief John Dillon, Nancy Carbone

hmHonor Molloy

Ashes of Fiery Weather Book LaunchLiam Collins, Kathleen Donohoe.   Signing books alongside his mom, Liam told her “I need my own pen,” and was so inspired that he wrote his own book the next day, The Book of Animals.

Early praise for Ashes of Fiery Weather

Kathleen Donohoe must have had to assimilate the entire postwar history of the Irish on both sides of the Atlantic to produce such a remarkably authentic portrait, rich in memorable detail, with characters that come so vividly to life one forgets one is reading a novel… Anyone Irish will face an uncanny recognition in these pages; everyone else will be enthralled meeting such captivating figures. Prepare to settle in.” —Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves






September 29, 2016

9.22.16 IAW&A Salon’s 5th Anniversary Party Celebrates Our Community, Collaborations and Successes

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:01 pm

 By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer

Irish American Writers & Artists held a jubilant Salon at the Cell Theatre on 9/22, celebrating the Salon’s 5th Anniversary, and our second year participating in Origin’s 1st Irish Festival.

waitingFull house at The Cell, eager for the 5th Anniversary Salon to begin

Salon buffs may know that the first Salon was held in Jue 2011. After an event-filled spring and summer that included IAW&A taking part in NYC’s Easter Rising Centenary commemorations, a Salon showcasing award-winning graduates of the Frank McCourt High School and an evening with Italian American writers, September seemed the ideal time for the “official” anniversary.

Fifth Anniversary Salon, Cell, 9/22/16John Kearns

duetMick Moloney on the banjo, Dan Gurney on accordion

Salon producer and host John Kearns featured some of the many IAW&A members who have shared developing work over the years, and whose participation and efforts have helped the Salon grow. One special guest, folklorist and musician Mick Moloney made his first Salon appearance. Mick is welcome any time he’s not traveling the world entertaining, teaching and sharing the legacy of Irish and Irish American music. Mick introduced young accordion phenom Dan Gurney.

Kathleen Donohoe gives the “thumbs up”

IAW&A Board member Kathleen Donohoe,  has read from her novel about six generations of women in family of a firefighters, as she was writing it over the last three years. Ashes of Fiery Weather just been released by a major publisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and described by Publishers Weekly as “a moving testament to the men and women who risk their lives every day.


Poet John Brennan likes to inspire the reader/listener with tales of long forgotten Ireland and the history embedded in its rocks and soil. Tonight the County Armagh native changed it up with a witty poem offering some fatherly advice.

Fifth Anniversary Salon, Cell, 9/22/16

Karen Daly

Karen Daly spends her time researching and writing about the lives of famous New Yorkers for a NYC landmark, and of course, for the IAW&A Salon. Her essay, “Miles” describes her other great interest beyond New York history, namely, bicycling. The subtitle tells the story: “How one broken heart lead to two broken arms, great friends, adventures and maybe even God.”


Guen Donohue brought to life an excerpt from John Kearns’s novel in progress, Worlds, in which a 1950s teenager grounded by her mother imagines the conversations  that she is missing among her friends at the diner. Guen’s a multi-talented artist who writes, sings and often  performs her own work at our Salons.

Guen Donohue

ptPete Kennedy and Tara O’Grady

Singer-songwriter Tara O’Grady debuted two original songs with the Grammy-award winning guitarist Pete Kennedy. Tara has released four CD’s and has performed at festivals from Butte, Montana to Austin, Texas’s famous South By Southwest-SXSW.

We heard more of Tara’s music when Darrah Carr Dance company members Trent Kowalik and Alexandra Williamson performed two dances from their forthcoming collaboration at the Irish Arts Center “Celtic Jazz Tryst.” Artistic Director Darrah Carr calls her style ModERIN, as it combines modern and Irish dance, and judging from tonight’s performances, it’s a “must-see” for dance fans.

Trent Kowalski in the air

An award-winning author and playwright from Galway, Seamus Scanlon presented a scene from his play in development “The Blood Flow Game,” a tensely charged interaction between a couple played by actors Maria Deasy and Mark Byrne

duoMaria Deasy and Mark Byrne


Playwright and composer of over thirty plays, musicals and revues, Board member and salon stalwart  Mark Butler produced, hosted and wrote material for last year’s fundraiser for Urban Librarians Unite. Mark did a monologue on his elusive relationship with money. More comedy came from Richard Butler, who sang a song his brother Mark composed “I’m Sick of All the Toys” for his full-scale musical Bad Christmas Sweater.

Mark Butler 

raptMalachy McCourt enthralling the crowd at the end of grand night

The 5th Anniversary celebration closed on a fitting note, an energetic, entertaining reading by Salon founder and spiritual godfather, Malachy McCourt.

Join us next Thursday, 7pm at Bar Thalia as we begin the next five years.

And get your copy of this wonderful book!








September 7, 2016

9.1.16 IAW&A Salon: Lively scene at Bar Thalia: Exciting new fiction, stunning monologues, award-winning poems

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 12:29 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Christopher Booth

The city may be quiet before the Labor Day weekend, but the IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia was lively on Thursday, September 1. The audience included visitors from Florence, Italy and IAW&A’s friend from Israel, Yona Gonik who visits every summer, proving that you don’t need to be Irish to appreciate our work and enjoy our hospitality.

Among the night’s offerings were short stories, poetry, monologues, fiction, song and the category-spanning Malachy McCourt.


In the short story category, Tom Mahon read a story about a man who can’t die. A president of a country starts two unnecessary and unwinnable wars. Fated to live one year for every lie he’s told and for each person he’s killed, he’ll live for thousands of years — in infamy.


Tom Mahon

Another chilling new story came from Guenevere Donohoe. A woman witness to a terrible crime realizes that the perpetrator is her new next-door neighbor and agonizes over whether to identify him.


Guen Donohoe

Among the poets, Vivian O’Shaughnessy, also a visual artist and translator, charmed with her poem, “Love.”

dsc_0030Vivian O’Shaughnessy

John Brennan’s poems were inspired by his travels. “Valleys and Dust” came out of a trip to learn about the ancient connection between Ireland and Egypt. “Canyons and Dust” is about his trip to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, to try and connect with the Anasazi, mysterious ancient people who disappeared without a trace.  More about John’s roaming in his book: The Journey: A Nomad Reflects

dsc_0175John Brennan

Award winning poet Marcia Loughran read two poems to mark the end of summer, one about camping in Big Sky country and another one set in Vermont. Marcia shared a family memory of summers at Bettystown on the northeast coast of Ireland.

dsc_0131Maura Loughran

Tonight we heard segments from three novels, all of which we’ve been hearing in development. Salon producer and tonight’s host, John Kearns, is happy to report that his book, Worlds, is nearly complete. In the latest chapter, a major character, Reverend Sarsfield Logan, S.J. has died and the Logan family reflects on his extensive learning and love of education as they prepare for his funeral.

dsc_0196John Kearns

A wake in a bleak tenement features in Eamon Loingsigh’s excerpt from Exile on Bridge Street, the second title in the Auld Irishtown trilogy, coming from Three Rooms Press in October. The first book, Light of the Diddicoy, was described by Cahir O’Doherty of Irish Central as “A vivid portrait of the hardscrabble world of Irish gangs along the Brooklyn waterfront in the early 20th century.”

dsc_0197Eamon Loingsigh

In Jim Rodgers’ excerpt from “Long Night’s End,”Johnny Gunn is returning from a visit to his father at Rockaway Beach, after Johnny’s wife threw him out for drinking and debauchery. Not finding solace from the old man, Johnny returns to Manhattan and contemplates the beach-spent New Yorkers returning to their city neighborhoods. Johnny heads for the Lower East Side for some beer and much needed sympathy from the mysterious and beautiful bartender, Olive.

dsc_0058Jim Rodgers

Obie-Award winning actress Rosina Fernhoff gave a stunning monologue form Donald Margulies’ play Collected Stories, in which woman fictionalizes her teacher’s affair with a renowned poet.

dsc_0086Rosina Fernhoff

Back after the summer, Gordon Gilbert delivered two original pieces. In “Dark Angels” a young boy of loses his entire family to a drone strike. Changing up the mood, Gordon created a dog hosting a radio show, ranting about why he hates cats.

dsc_0231Gordon Gilbert

John Munnelly enjoys trying out new work at the Salon. Tonight he read a new poem “I Am from Dirt” and a new song waiting for a title, possibly, “Nothing Wrong with Me” or “What if I’m No Good?” and a song called “Alien.” If you’d like to learn John’s technique, you can take his Songwriting Class at the Irish Arts Center starting September 29. Find it at   Read more here:

dsc_0264John Munnelly

As the custom at Bar Thalia, Malachy McCourt closed the Salon with a free-ranging display of wit, wisdom and a song, demonstrating why he is our choice for the IAW&A Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award on October 17. As founder of the Salon, Malachy is proud of this “wonderful collection of talented people.” We’re in awe of his talents, in addition to his generosity and encouragement to Salon members.

dsc_0338-2Malachy McCourt

Don’t miss our salute to him on 10/17. Get your tickets here:

Enjoying  the presentations at IAW&A September 1 Salon at Bar Thalia:dsc_0204Yona Gonik

dsc_0218Kevin McPartlandcsc_0270-2Malachy McCourt

dsc_0225Karen Daly


Enjoying the break at IAW&A  September 1 Salon at Bar Thalia:



Create a free website or blog at