Irish American Writers & Artists

May 23, 2017

More of Malachy McCourt’s Book Launch: Fans, Friends, Family

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:37 pm








DSC_0874 copy












May 22, 2017

5.16.17 IAW&A Salon: Far from Funereal Party for Malachy McCourt’s new book Death Need Not Be Fatal

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 11:56 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Christopher Booth 

DSC_0878Malachy McCourt


Malachy McCourt’s fans lined the street outside The Cell Theatre on West 23rd Street to enter the launch party for his latest book Death Need Not Be Fatal.

IAW&A was proud to host the event on the book’s publication date, May 16. Malachy is a founder of IAW&A, and the inspiration for our bi-monthly Salons, which have been going strong for more than five years. Honoring one of his favorite ideas, we devoted the first half of this night to storytelling, and the second to the man himself, with two splendid musical interludes.

IAW&A Board member, comedian and writer Sarah Fearon served as host and organizer. She thanked Malachy for his generosity, his contribution to our community and dedication to freedom of speech. Other guests echoed these themes throughout the night in personal stories and in “Malachy” stories.




Sarah Fearon

Sarah invited Leah Tehrani, a Julliard-trained soprano and her fellow Friar to open the program with two songs. Accompanied on piano by Karim Merchant, Leah gave us Puccini’s beautiful aria “O Mio Babbino Caro.” An Irish arts enthusiast, Leah set the tone for the evening with Loreena McKennitt’s “The Old Ways.”


 Leah Tehrani

First of the fabulous storytellers, IAW&A president, playwright, musician and founder of Black 47, Larry Kirwan first met Malachy back when Larry was a budding rock singer and Malachy the proprietor of the famed Bells of Hell bar in the Village. Malachy let Larry and his partner sing in the back room, and the rest is history.


Larry Kirwan

Conor McCourt has an even longer history with Malachy, as Conor is his son. He’s a retired NYPD sergeant, a documentary filmmaker and private investigator. In Conor’s story, he was working undercover in midtown, when Malachy showed up.


Conor McCourt

A writer, performer and author of the memoir and New York Times bestseller A Widow’s Walk, Marian Fontana told a very personal story. Ever the entertainer, she tried to make the best of a scary medical situation only to find the medical personnel not responding to her humor. Marian succeeded in amusing her doctor by dint of an only-in-New York- six-degrees-of-separation moment.

DSC_0826.JPGMarian Fontana

Next, Malachy’s co-hosts and co- conspirators on a weekly radio show John McDonagh and Corey Kilgannon showed awe and appreciation for Malachy’s talent and generosity. John McDonagh, creator of the hilarious solo piece Cabtivist, noted that guests on the show “can’t out-poverty Malachy” when he compares their stories to his childhood in Limerick. NY Times reporter Corey Kilgannon called his story “Driving Himself.” In the course of driving to do the radio show each week, he learns that Malachy – by virtue of his storied career as an actor, tv star, tavern owner and political activist – is connected to just about everyone in NY. Listen to their show, Talk Back – New York, We and Thee Edition every Wednesday 10:00am to noon on 99.5FM.

DSC_0746John McDonagh, left,  Corey Kilgannon

Mary Pat Kelly, IAW&A Vice President, author of Irish Blood and Galway Bay paid sweet tribute to Malachy for teaching her a thing or two about selling books. She noted the great coverage of Death Need Not Be Fatal in the Washington Post and her pleasure in often seeing Malachy and his wife Diana on the Upper West Side.



Mary Pat Kelly

Malachy had bookselling advice for Colin Broderick, too. Author of Orangutan, and That’s That and producer of the new film Emerald City, Colin acknowledged Malachy as one of the “most influential people in his career and his life in America.” Malachy’s advice: “Sing a song, and they’ll remember you.” So Colin sang Spancil Hill, a folk song about an Irish immigrant.


Colin Broderick

Journalist and playwright Pat Fenton, whose Stoopdreamer received five nominations in the First Irish Theatre Festival, talked about “Malone’s Wake.” Pat deemed it the last Irish wake in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn now that hipsters are moving in. After the mass, mourners toasted Jack Malone’s ashes on a stool at Farrell’s Bar.



Pat Fenton

DSC_0747.JPGDiana McCourt, right, and Malachy before the show

After a lively intermission and long line for autographing those books, harpist and singer Alice Smyth opened the second half of the program with two exquisite songs including the “Connemara Cradle Song.”

DSC_0774Alice Smyth

Another of Malachy’s co-conspirators, Brian McDonald is an acclaimed memoirist and author of Last Call at Elaine’s and My Father’s Gun: One Family, Three Badges. Brian, who helped organize and “decode” Malachy’s notes for the book, gave a heartfelt introduction to working with and knowing Malachy and his family.


DSC_1001Brian McDonald

Then the man himself, Malachy McCourt took the stage to talk about Death Need Not Be Fatal. After thanking his beloved Diana, and his children and grandchildren, he commented that the tributes tonight were like “hearing his own obituary.”

DSC_0987Malachy McCourt

Malachy talked about his fortunate life. He arrived in America in 1952 with $4, because “I had a dream I’d be happy here.” He believes that dreams can come true, as he looked at his wonderful family in the audience and offered some wisdom of his 85 years. “Love people, not countries.” “Do the right thing, love children, don’t stop working.” And his signature line: “Live each day as if it’s your last. Someday you’ll be right!”

Malachy read excerpts from the book, including his thoughts on why Americans never die. They “pass, expire, go to the Lord” and a raft of other euphemisms. Who else but Malachy can put the “fun” in funerals? You’ll be surprised, entertained and moved by his book

Malachy gave his fans, standing room only until the end, more of his massive charm, more laughs and raucous comments. He closed, in his fashion, with a song:

“Let’s not have a sniffle

Let’s have a bloody-good cry.

And always remember:

The longer you live

The sooner you’ll bloody-well die”


Special thanks to host Sarah Fearon, our storytellers and musicians, photographer Christopher Booth, Brendan Costello and IAW&A Salon Committee for a wonderful night!

Please note our next event on Thursday, June 1 will be renowned author Mary Gordon’s book release and interview by Mary Pat Kelly at the American Irish Historical Society.  REGISTER TO ATTEND




May 9, 2017

5.4.17 IAW&A Salon: Sensational Gathering of Poets, Actors and Singers

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 3:28 am

By Karen Daly

Maureen Walsh Hossbacher and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, IAW&A’s inimitable sister act, produced and co-hosted a sensational early May Salon at Bar Thalia. They gathered a distinguished group of poets, actors and singers, adding new talents to our roster and bringing out a lively crowd.

IMG_9294       Maureen Walsh Hossbacher and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy. Photo by Tom Mahon.

First of the night’s wonderful poets and new presenters, KC Trommer is a prizewinner (Academy of American Poets and the 2015 Fugue Poetry Prize) and author of a chapbook The Hasp Tongue (Dancing Girl Press). Tonight she read new poems that will appear in her next collection, including “Fear Not, Mary” and “When We See.” KC says she chose work that “speaks to the current political moment and are concerned with women’s agency and about how we can work together to create real change.” KC, pictured at right, will be the featured reader at the Queens Central Library on May 21 at 2 pm. For more information, please go to


In her first Salon, Kelly Sullivan, (at left) a poet, fiction writer and teacher of Irish literature at New York University, read from her chapbook, Fell Year, published just last month by Green Bottle Press Kelly’s poem’s included “Mount Desert Island, Maine.”  Her knowledge of Irish art is revealed in  “Anatomy School for Artists” which depicts the great stained glass artist Harry Clarke in Dublin in 1913. Kelly’s recent work has been published in SalmagundiThe Hopkins ReviewUnderwater New York and The Clearing (UK). For more information about her poetry and fiction as well as her academic work on Irish writers and artists, at

dsc_0011.jpg                                   Tom Mahon

With his usual panache, Tom Mahon read from his story “Going After Bigfoot.” A young man helping his brother-in-law catch a fugitive before he crosses the Canadian border learns that the wanted man is large, irrational and dangerous. Though frightened, the young man aids his incompetent relative because he needs the money. Tom gave away copies of his children’s book Little Bigfoot created when his son was young and was fascinated with the myth of Bigfoot.

10409068_10152923703471225_7181618541252853921_n-1A new member of IAW&A, and first time presenter, actor and writer Matthew Maw is a native of Belfast and a graduate of NYU’s Irish Studies program. Currently experiencing the joy of being processed for a green card, he eloquently explored the theme of the immigrant as ‘stranger.’ First he read Kipling’s “The Stranger Within My Gates” and then Shakespeare’s masterful pro-refugee speech from his work Sir Thomas More. Matthew says he chose the two pieces to demonstrate that “the traditions of humanism, empathy and understanding will always win out over bigotry.” Matthew is pictured at left.


Another newcomer to IAW&A (this was her second performance) Ailbhe Fitzpatrick is another multi-talent: a singer, music producer, pianist, documentary filmmaker and fluent Irish speaker. Ailbhe sang two emotional songs: the ballad “The Parting Glass” and the 18th century folk song, “Mo Ghile Mear” (“My Gallant Darling”) by Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill, a lament for a loved one in exile.

aidbhe                                           Ailbhe Fitzpatrick


Madeline Artenberg, at right,  began creating and performing poetry at the famed Nuyorican Poets Café in the 90’s.  She has been writing, performing and studying ever since, and collecting prizes and accolades for her work. In her Salon debut, her work dealt with women’s relationships and empowerment: between a wife and a Sultan (in the sensual “The Sultan’s Wife”) a daughter and mother in “After Death” and a woman poet and a blind man. In addition to her poetry in print and online publications, Madeline co-authored the play The Old In-and-Out, which was produced in New York in 2013 and is based on her poetry and that of Karen Hildebrand. She will be featured next in the show at the Cornelia Street Cafe on May 19, What Were the ’60s REALLY Like?  More information at

We’ve been eager to have Rosette Capotorto back after her appearance at last year’s Salon with the Italian- American writers group. A poet and author of Bronx Italian, she is a two-time recipient of the Edward Albee Fellowship Award. Rosette’s work has appeared in The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture, and in Curragia: Writings by Women of Italian Descent.  She read her poems “Mother of A Priest” and “Broken Windows,” which documents Hoboken’s renaissance.rosette.jpg                                Rosette Capotorto. Photo by Christopher Booth.

Jack DiMonte and Guen Donohue reprised their stellar roles as Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois in a scene from Thom Molyneaux’s new play Tennessee’s Waltz. Their meeting, years after the events in A Streetcar Named Desire, took a metaphysical twist. Thom appreciated the audience response and promises to reveal another section soon at IAW&A.

    Thom Molyneaux, left.  Jack DiMonte, Guen Donohue. Photos by Tom Mahon.

As one of the famous Irish Tenors, Karl Scully has performed all over the world. He’s performed in the operas Carmen, Cosi Fan Tutti and Lucia De Lammermoor, and in the film Nora, he played the legendary John McCormack. Karl feels very much at home at IAW&A, where is becoming a legend himself with his glorious voice. He closed the show with “My Lagan Love” and with the Malachy McCourt anthem, “Go, Lassie, Go.”

karl.jpg                                 Karl Scully.  Photo by Cat Dwyer.

Speaking of Malachy, the next Salon will launch his newest book, Death Need Not Be Fatal, with stories and song. Don’t miss it.

That’s Tuesday, May 16, 7 pm at The Cell, 338 West 23rd Street, NYC


Create a free website or blog at