Irish American Writers & Artists

May 30, 2014

Bergen County Irish Festival: Opportunity for IAW&A Members to Read

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:19 pm

The inaugural Bergen County Irish Festival is on Saturday, June 28th, from 11 am -7 pm at Overpeck County Park in Leonia, NJ.

Member Sean Hickey invites members to read from their works and sell their books, if they have some.


The event will also include readings from famous/noteworthy/beloved Irish literature. Something like a favorite poem or two from Yeats, Synge, Moore, et al, or a passage from a longer work would be most welcome. The goal is to make the festival a celebration of Irish/Irish-American culture and literature, past and present.

Due to the nature of the event, there are a few restrictions that are not imposed on IAW&A Salon readings:

1) No profanity. Works should be appropriate for a family event.

2) Works should be able to function as stand-alone pieces for the reading. While a lyrical chapter from a novel that works with little context needed from the rest of the story would be okay, a plot-heavy piece from chapter 28 would not really work, given the audience.

3) Works should pertain to Ireland, Irish or Irish-American life and culture, being/growing up Irish, etc., in some way.

To sign up to read, email Sean Hickey at


May 24, 2014

New York New Belfast returns, May 29, 30 with 30% discount for IAW&A members

Filed under: Events — by johnleemedia @ 2:22 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The arts and culture are always a big part of the annual New York New Belfast conference.  Here are a few of the offerings…

A Two-Way Street of Arts and Culture.
12th Floor Lounge

Finding ways to mainstream exchanges of artists between Belfast and New York so that Irish American artists are feted in Belfast and Belfast artists celebrated in New York.

Contributors: Tracy Marshall, Director Belfast Exposed | Kevin Gamble, Director Féile an Phobail | Sarah Jane Bennison, Grand Opera House, Belfast | Mac Premo | Marcus Robinson, Film-Maker, Artist. Producer Rebuilding the World Trade Center. | Peter Quinn, author The Man Who Never Returned, Hour of the Cat, Dry Bones | Terry Golway, Author Machine Made | John Ahearn, Sculpture, South Bronx

Great Universities Define Great Cities
Lowenstein Room 502 (5th Floor)

World-class universities are a vital ingredient of the global city. How can our universities act as economic engines co-operating across the Atlantic to usher in a new era of educational excellence and business innovation.

Contributors: Tom Dunne, Vice-President Fordham Univeristy | Prof. John Harrington, Fordham University |Michael George, Fortress Investments/Queen’s University New York City Scholarship Program | Joanne Stuart, US-NI Mentorship Programme | Gabrielle NigUidhir, St Marys University College, Belfast | Breandán Mac Suibhne, Centenary College, NY

The Healing Power of Art 3:15pm-4:30pm

4 World Trade Center (Bus will leave Fordham University at 2:30pm)

Symposium hosted by artist Marcus Robinson at his studio on the 48th floor of Tower 4, World Trade Center. Chaired by Geraldine Hughes, Actor, Writer and Producer. Contributions from Michael O’Keefe, Actor/Poet, Rodney Dickson. Includes a showreel of Marcus’ film of the rebuilding of Ground Zero.

NYNB starts the evening of Thurs. May 29 and continues into Friday. Come the the whole conference or part of it.
Great networking and a 30% discount for IAW&A members. Just use code nynbpartner when ordering tickets HERE

May 23, 2014

5/20 IAW&A Salon: A Simply Thrilling Night!

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

By Karen Daly
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas

That’s no exaggeration. If you missed the IAW&A salon at the Cell on Tuesday, May 20, you missed an unforgettable program that featured scenes from three plays – by women playwrights. Gifted new presenters joined the line-up; several IAW&A members explored new genres and birthdays (John Kearns, Maura Mulligan) were celebrated.

What Tom Mahon calls “our village” is entertained by “our own” with story and song, drama, and comedy. Tonight “our own” included talent from stages in New York and Ireland, and from such fabled places as Hollywood and Jakarta, and of course, New Jersey. Tom notes that our Salon mix might not work without such a great audience. The overflow crowd was just that – laughing, cheering, sometimes tearing up.


Gary Cahill

Crime writer Gary Cahill led off the evening with an unusual choice that worked well at his recent reading for the Noir at the Bar series at the Shade in Greenwich Village — the climax and demise of the psychotic murderous protagonist from his crime fiction short storySirens.” In other words, he gave away the ending! The story is published free online (and in an e-book anthology) with Plan B Magazine at Gary also reads “Sirens” and other writers’ stories (Um Piexe Grande, Slice) with his friend, engineer Tom Richter (Doing God’s Work, Murderous Lies) for the Plan B podcast at  Gary is the father of the talented Ryan Winter Cahill, who closed the evening.


Mark William Butler

Mark William Butler was happy to spread the word and receive such an enthusiastic response to the new IAW&A newsletter – The Weekly Action Update, a/k/a “The Weekly.”  Be sure to get your news to Mark at

Mark, who is known as a playwright and creator of musical comedy, read a short story that he recently rediscovered. The rollicking “San Francisco Bar Brawl” made its debut after languishing in obscurity (and a dusty notebook) for more years than Mark would care to admit.


Marni Rice

Marni Rice is ever expanding her range as an artist. We’ve seen her perform as a singer, accordionist, composer, writer and Salon host. Tonight she sang two traditional sean-nós (“old style”) Irish songs from the Sarah Makem songbook: “My Bonny Boy” and the plaintive,  “The Lowlands of Holland.”

Sarah Makem, the influential traditional singer was wife, mother and grandmother of musicians (yes, those Makems). Read about her here:


John Kearns

John Kearns, IAW&A Salon producer and tonight’s host, read two poems: “A Memory of Its Own” about the body’s ability to recall things the mind may have forgotten and “Mornings” about how a couple’s conversation changes the morning commute from a dull routine to an experience enchanting and fun.


Sean Hickey

Writer/teacher Sean Hickey made his Salon debut in March and tonight he returned with three melancholy character sketches from his short fiction “Five Portraits of Future Cultists.” Each sketch explores the varied formative experiences and longings of a seemingly ordinary person, and leads up to an ominous glimpse at a fate that he or she will be unable to escape. A fine writer and welcome addition to the group.

Sean promoted the Bergen County Irish Festival, which will be held on June 28 at Overpeck County Park in Leonia, New Jersey.  Authors with books to sign and sell are especially encouraged to participate. For information, check the IAW&A “Weekly” or email Sean at

 mary pat cast

Sean, Mary Elizabeth Kelly, Maura Knowles, and Mary Pat Kelly

Distinguished author and filmmaker Mary Pat Kelly is now working on a musical version of her first novel, Special Intentions, which tells the story of her experiences as a nun during the 1960s. Tonight she presented two songs from the musical-in-progress.  In her introduction, Mary Pat commented on present attacks by the Vatican on women religious for being “feminists” too concerned with the poor and the environment. “I left. The women who stayed are doing great work under difficult conditions. I want to look at the idealism that motivated all of us,” she said. She cast two wonderful actresses Maura Knowles – and Mary Elizabeth Kelly to sing her roles, accompanied on piano by Sean, a musical student who arrived in New York from Jakarta only 10 months ago and is a wonderful talent. Mary Pat commented, “My niece Mary Elizabeth captured that idealism and Maura was fantastic as all the other characters. Thanks to Salon for the chance to launch this effort!”



Maura Mulligan and John Kearns enjoyed birthday cupcakes! 


Maura Mulligan

Maura Mulligan, author of a memoir, Call of the Lark, (Greenpoint Press) and teacher of Irish language and dance, is now proud to call herself a playwright and “over the moon” with the audience’s warm reception to her first effort, Call of the Grave. On Samhain  (Halloween) in rural 1940’s Ireland, Maeve Kenny prepares for her husband’s wake with the traditional music and clay pipes. When the local priest announces that Pádraic Kenny must be the first burial in a new graveyard, daughter Breege is horrified. When the druidess, Cait Rúa, announces that the ancestors will expect to meet Pádraic in the old graveyard, Breege finds a shovel and takes matters into her own hands.

maura cast

Nancy Oda, Aine Murphy, Vera Wrenn, Jo Kinsella, and Jimmy Kerr

Maura’s cast featured Jo Kinsella who directed the scene and played Breege. Jo has many acting credits here and in Ireland and recently played Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa at The Irish Rep. Jimmy Kerr, a native of Co. Antrim, studied creative writing in Edinburgh and acting in NYC. His work has been featured in the 1st Irish Theater Festival. Native Irish speaker Áine Murphy (Cáit Rúa) hails from the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht in West Kerry and has appeared in many Irish language stage productions and on Radio Éireann and Radio na Gaeltachta. IAW&A member, Limerick born Vera Wrenn  (Maeve) has acted and studied and performed Irish dance in Ireland and New York. Throughout the 1960s, Vera sang with her sister and brother in the Wrenn Trio. Our own Nancy Oda, who read stage directions, has participated in other New York playreadings and performance pieces. The Chicago native has experience acting and training actors and is a member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors’ Equity. Nancy is excited to do readings of new plays and is always looking for new projects.


Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon read from another powerful excerpt from his novel American Mastery.  On a business trip to Germany, the Fenton brothers Charlie and Raymond go to the Hofbrau House.

Afterwards, while walking on the cobbled streets of Munich, they’re attached by four thugs, just as they were on a previous trip to Japan. This time, Charlie saves them. Frightened at first that he could respond so automatically, he then relishes winning against such odds. Ray is knocked out. At the hospital, Charlie learns that he’s killed a man, and is now like the Germans he fears and detests after visiting Buchenwald death camp the previous day.


Jill Caryl Weiner

Author, journalist and first time presenter Jill Caryl Weiner read an essay called “Moving Forward” about transformations, memories and how you often need to forget parts of yourself to become someone new: a mom. Jill calls her piece as “the dark sister” to her new book When We Became Three: A Memory Book for the Modern Family – a charming and whimsical fresh spin on the memory book.


Jill wanted to help new parents ease their anxiety with a fun, optimistic way to record that time. In Jill’s book, parents record their firsts as well as baby’s (how they felt the first time they held baby; and baby’s first real word and parents first baby word) so that they don’t take themselves for granted – and so they’ll have an interesting — and adorable  — keepsake in the future.

Jill has two book signing/reading events coming up:

June 9th at 7pm, Barnes & Noble on 82nd & Broadway.

June 14th at 11am at the Upper West Side Apple Store.

Find Jill at or get on her mailing list at and find the book at

sheila sarah

Sheila Walsh and Sarah Fearon

Playwright Sheila Walsh has been sharing scenes from her play, Surrender at Somerville,a funny and touching look at what happens when sweethearts from the 1960’s reconnect. Sheila is working on the second draft and tonight she read the beginning of the new version with the comedian/performer Sarah Fearon. The scene, and the actors, provided great comedy. We’ll get to see more, as the work progresses, as Sheila enjoys presenting new work to the salon’s encouraging audience.


John Cappellitti

First time Salon presenter John Cappelletti read a poem (some have called it a long sonnet) called “Krapp” based on the play “Krapp’s Last Tape” by Samuel Beckett, directed in NYC by John’s mentor, the late Alan Schneider. Next he read a short piece (which he learned at the salon was  “flash fiction”) titled “The Dolls” which was based, unfortunately, on a true story of a schoolroom shooting. Born in Chicago to an Italian father and Irish mother (his grandfather came from Roscommon), John is proud to be an Irish citizen. He’s an actor, director, playwright and teacher and grandfather.


Ryan Cahill

Since the evening began with one Cahill, it was only fitting to end with another. Ryan Winter Cahill brought the night to an exquisite close by singing two very different tales of lost love. First was a traditional English ballad “When I Was in My Prime” followed by a rendition of the Sonny Bono-penned number “Bang, Bang – My Baby Shot Me Down.” (She is, after all, Gary’s daughter.)

Don’t miss the next salon, but remember that June Salon dates are changed:

Wednesday, June 4th at 7:00pm at the Bar Thalia

Tuesday, June 10th, at 7:00 pm at The Cell.

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

January 27, 2014

St. Pat’s for All Fundraiser at Molly Bloom’s, Feb. 1st!

Filed under: Events,Music,Social Activism — by scripts2013 @ 5:06 am

Join fellow IAW&A members at a fundraiser for the Saint Pat’s for All Parade!

pats for all

And, save the date for the February 28th concert at the Irish Arts Center and for the parade itself on Sunday, March 2nd!

Visit for details.

January 24, 2014

Maura Mulligan Invites Members to Celebrate Celtic Festival of Imbolc & the Feast of St. Brigid

Filed under: dance,Events,Literature,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:55 pm

by Maura Mulligan

You are invited to celebrate the ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc & the feast of St. Brigid. February 1st marks the beginning of spring in Ireland. The goddess, Brigid, and the saint are both known as patroness of poets, bards, musicians, midwives, farmers and healers.


Qualified teachers will offer mini lessons in Irish language, dance, weaving & yoga.
The classes are free. Participants are asked to donate for studio rental & invited to share homemade food offerings.

Guests may share artistic gifts of poetry, song, story, music and dance.

The following teachers are lined up for the event:

  • Mary McIntyre, native of Co. Mayo has taught Irish language both in Ireland and here in New York. She works for the NYC DOE
  • Philomena Connors is a certified Hatha 1 Yoga teacher. She studied at Integral Yoga Institute here in New York and teaches there regularly.
  • Bernadette Cullen is a poet and teacher in New York.
  • Maura Mulligan, Mayo native has taught Irish language & dance in NY for over twenty years. She is a certifiedCéilí dance teacher.

Two rooms are booked at Ripley Grier Studios, 131 West 72nd St (between Broadway & Columbus). 6:30-9:30 pm.

Classes are free. Participants will share the studio rental. At about $15 per person, it’s the best deal in NYC!

In the interest of time, some classes will run concurrently.

1. Yoga (active participation)
2. Weaving St. Brigid’s cross (active participation)
3. Irish language (active participation – two levels offered)
4.Ceílí Dancing (active participation)
5. Poetry (lecture/discussion)

It’s not too late to sign up.

We will have guest presentations at the social hour following the classes. So far, we have the promise of a song from the lovely voice of Vera Wrenn. The vivacious Kathleen Higgins will remind us about good nutrition. Witty comedian, Sarah Fearon has “penciled this in.” I hope that means she’ll share her talent.

We’ll be tempted to taste bones when we sample St. Brigid’s cakes from Deirdre Batson’s amazing kitchen. What else? Oh yes, Nancy Oda says she loves to cook. Yum!

Participants are welcome to bring wine, cheese, fruit and or a favorite dish to share.

The celebration is Friday, Jan 31st from 6:30-9:30 pm.

Location: Ripley Grier Studios, 131 West 72nd St. (between Broadway & Columbus) you’ll warm up climbing the stairs to the 2nd floor. No elevator.

RSVP requested by 1/26.

Email Maura Mulligan at

Phone: 201 869 6717

January 13, 2014

Malachy McCourt joins Eamon Loingsigh at Barrow Street Theater

with readings by author EAMON LOINGSIGH
and famed Irish writer MALACHY McCOURT(A Monk Swimming)


with readings by author RICHARD VETERE
and Obie award-winning playwright ISRAEL HOROVITZ

Three Rooms Press will present a sneak peek of forthcoming novels LIGHT OF THE DIDDICOY and THE WRITERS AFTERLIFE with very special guest readers Malachy McCourt and Israel Horovitz as well as authors Eamon Loingsigh and Richard Vetere.

NOVEL IDEAS: A sneak peak @ new books  
Thursday, January 16 at 7 pm at Barrow Street Theater, 27 Barrow St. (at 7th Avenue).
Tickets $10, available at the door.

Eamon Loingsigh


ISBN 978-0-9884008-9-4, Original Trade Paperback, 230 pages, March 2014

LIGHT OF THE DIDDICOY is the brutal saga of Irish-American gangs on the Brooklyn waterfront in the early part of the twentieth century, told through the eyes of Irish immigrant Liam Garrity. Forced at age 14 to travel alone to America on the eve of the 1916 Easter Rising, Garrity stumbles directly into the hard-knock streets of the Brooklyn pier neighborhoods run by Bridge District gang The White Hand. In the industrialized enclaves where Famine Irish settled a generation earlier, Garrity has no choice but to use any means necessary to survive within the clan-like loyalties of the gang.

The book has received widespread pre-publication praise from early readers, including Malachy McCourt, who raves, “LIGHT OF THE DIDDICOY is an amazing series of literary leaps from terra firma into the stratosphere above. The writing embraces you, and his description of the savagery visited on poor people is offset by the humor and love of the traditional Irish community. Don’t leave the store without this book.” T.J. English, author of Paddy Whacked and The Westies, enthusiastically applauds the book, saying “LIGHT OF THE DIDDICOY is written with tremendous flavor and panache. Historical fiction at its best.”

And Alphie McCourt, author of Heartscald, notes, “Eamon Loinsigh is a poet with a pickaxe and a scalpel attached to the working end. Mr. Loingsigh, the meticulous historian, paints a rich picture. Mr. Loingsigh, the novelist, tells it like it was. LIGHT OF THE DIDDICOY is a great read.”

Author Eamon Loingsigh is a journalist with a long-held fascination for the Irish-American New York City experience. His family emigrated from Ireland in the late nineteenth century and his grandfather and great-grandfather ran a longshoreman’s saloon on Hudson Street in Manhattan for much of the twentieth century. LIGHT OF THE DIDDICOY is his first full-length novel.


THE WRITERS AFTERLIFE is a truly original, hilarious and triumphant tale of a writer given one last chance to realize his lifelong dream – after he dies. Tom Chillo, a 44-year-old writer with two novels under his belt, plus countless hack survival jobs, dies suddenly and is faced with one chance to return to earth for one week and set the wheels in motion to achieve eternal fame for his true life’s work. Failure is not an option.

Author Richard Vetere is has written more than 30 plays which have been performed worldwide. His 1997 novel, The Third Miracle, was made into the namesake 2000 film produced by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Ed Harris and Anne Heche.

Warm Festive IAW&A Salon Despite Record-Breaking Cold Outside, 1/7/14

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 3:20 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Well, the weather outside may have been “beastly” as Brendan Costello described it but inside the Bar Thalia the first IAW&A salon of 2014 was cozy and warm. More than a dozen members presented their work and an upbeat SRO crowd got the salon year off to great start.

John Kearns started the evening off with an announcement about IAW&A Night at Larry Kirwan’s play, Hard Times, at the Cell Theatre on January 23rd.  Tickets are still available.


David Sharp and Mary Tierney

The fun began with two fine actors, Mary Tierney and David Sharp, performing a scene from playwright Joe Davidson’s “Looking for Cans.” Mary has been hosting TimeBanksNYC (TBNYC) free Acting/Writing class for the last two years at Theater for the New City (TNC), where David, a veteran actor, and Joe are both members. Mary first met Joe through IAW&A and is pleased to see such artistic collaborations flourish. Joe Davidson’s “Looking for Cans” will be a part of the Veterans Administration Hospital program.


Guen Donohue

The multi-talented Guenevere Donohue read her brand new poem, which she has now titled,Rushlight.” A lovely ode to the odd little lamp, “the people’s candle” that illuminated her ancestor’s home in Castlecomer, Kilkenny.


Marni Rice

Speaking of multi-talented women, Marni Rice has presented her work as a singer, accordionist, composer and writer at previous salons. Tonight Marni presented an excerpt from her play “After the Storm,” about a small village being looked after by a family of birds.


Brendan Costello

Brendan Costello Jr. likes to surprise and challenge the audience. Tonight he read from the first chapter of Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. In the tragicomic description of a suburban community theater’s disastrous opening night, Yates captures the heart, and the despair, of the novel and its characters. Brendan chose to share it because he found it inspirational (in fact he assigns it to his creative writing students at The City College of New York.)


Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher gave a spirited reading of another excerpt from her novel-in-progress, The Grand March, the story of two generations of an Irish-American family in NYC. In this segment, set in the 1960’s, Bernie, a young nun, decides to bend her Order’s rules, to accommodate the close bond she has with her sister Nance.

In a new excerpt from John Kearns’s novel-in-progress, Worlds, Paul Logan reminisced about his younger days as an advertising proofreader and his opportunity to see ONE word he had suggested appear in an ad in the New York Times. The laughs of recognition showed that this story resonated with the crowd of writers in the audience. Offered the chance to do more copywriting, Paul turns it down, realizing that advertising is not the type of writing he had come to New York City to do and not what he was meant to do with his talents. John, salon producer and host, poet, playwright, and novelist, does not work in advertising.


Aghamore’s and New York’s own Maura Mulligan

Alternating in Irish and English language, Maura Mulligan presented Oíche Nollaig na mBan – “The Eve of Women’s Christmas”a poem by the Irish language poet, Seán Ó Riardáin. The poem is based on “The Night of the Big Wind” when a hurricane swept through Ireland on the eve of January 6, 1839 causing much destruction and death. Sarah Lundberg and Oran Ryan of the Seven Towers Literary Agency in Dublin translated the poem. Last summer, Maura read from her memoir Call of the Lark and was interviewed on the Seven Towers podcast. John Kearns was also a guest on the podcast in 2013.


A few laughs during the break 


A quick — and only — rehearsal during the break  


Mark Butler

Mark William Butler  refused to acknowledge the fact that Christmas is over when he presented one of his holiday songs, “Remember” from his musical “Santa Forever.” The tune was performed beautifully by vocalist Richard Butler and on the soprano saxophone by Jon Gordon. Mark – and we − thank Richard and Jon for sharing their wonderful gifts.


Richard Butler and Jon Gordon

Later in the program, jazzman Jon Gordon read from his poignant book, For Sue – A Memoir, the story of his childhood growing up alone with an alcoholic single mother. It’s no exaggeration to say that the audience held its breath as Jon read a section about his friend Mario and Mario’s family. For Sue is published by Chimbarazu Press and available on Amazon at


Jon Gordon

Sarah Fearon combines her skills in comedy, writing, and real estate in the work-in-progress story titled “While You Were Out.” It’s a tale with old school New York characters including a doorman, a paralegal and an actor. A little bit crazy and a little bit lucky, they help themselves to an estate sale that includes a penthouse with river views. The lesson: dreaming is free and sometimes it pays off.


Sarah Fearon

Many salongoers have heard Jim Rodgers read from his novel Long Night’s End. Tonight Jim gave an animated reading from his earlier book, Tierney’s Plate, in which newspaperman, Phineus Tierney seeks to expose a group of New York lawyers intent on the destruction of the Good Friday Agreement. After fleeing to a cottage in West Cork, and barely surviving an attempt on his life, Phineus gets drunk in the dark countryside, wondering if he should ditch the story and leave Irish politics to the Irish.


Jim Rodgers


Honor and Bronagh

Honor Molloy presented a tribute to her magnificent friend and collaborator Bronagh Murphy. Honor read two monologues from their play, Maiden Voyages, that takes place in Dublin’s Rotunda Lying In Hospital − the oldest maternity hospital in Europe. Bronagh −nurse, midwife, actress − trained at the Rotunda in the 1980s, thus providing the fodder for the play. Honor provided a spellbinding delivery.


Honor Molloy

Closing the night with a song, Jack DiMonte reprised one he presented once before titled “Robert Frost” by the great jazz bassist Jay Leonhart.  A struggling writer speculates on how sweet his life would be if he only had the life of the great poet as he imagines it must have been − carefree and patron-sponsored!


Jack DiMonte

Happy New Year from IAW&A!


Ready for your turn at the mic?  Email John Kearns at

Next salon at the Cell Theatre on January 21st. See you there!

And, don’t forget IAW&A Night at Larry Kirwan’s play, Hard Times, at the Cell Theatre on January 23rd! Tickets are still available.

December 30, 2013

IAW&A Night at Larry Kirwan’s “Hard Times” at the Cell, January 23rd, 8 pm

Filed under: American Politics,Events,Irish Politics,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:11 pm

Larry Kirwan’s Hard Times, last year’s smash-hit musical about Stephen Foster and NYC’s Five Points neighborhood during the Civil War, returns to the Cell Theatre on January 9th and runs Thursdays through Sundays until February  2nd.

Join us for Irish American Writers and Artists night on January 23rd at 8 pm, with a talkback with the cast and playwright after the show!


The Cell Theatre is at:

338 West 23rd Street, between 8th & 9th


See you there!

December 23, 2013

IAW&A Salon Celebrates Christmas with Poetry, Music, Fiction, and Singing!

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 11:20 pm

by Mary Lanon
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Christmas made an appearance in several presentations Dec. 19th as Irish American Writers and Artists celebrated the holiday with a salon at the cell and much merriment at the after party.


Bernadette Cullen

Early on in the evening Christmas featured in Bernadette Cullen’s reading of her own three poems and one of the Nativity poems by Joseph Brodsky, the  Russian poet.  Arriving in the U..S. as an involuntary exile  in 1972 Brodsky began writing a nativity poem every Christmas.


Maura Mulligan with Marni Rice on accordion

Also in the first half, memoirist and Céilí dance teacher Maura Mulligan presented “Oíche Nollag” (“Christmas Eve”) by Eoghan Ó Tuairisc. As well as poetry, Ó Tuairisc wrote a number of novels in Irish including L’Attaque about the French military adventure in Mulligan’s native County Mayo in 1798. He also wrote verse in performance-friendly style such as “Oíche Nollag,” which Mulligan recited in both English and Irish. Accordionist Marni Rice, who composed music depicting, lines such as . . . “the sharp nails of the rain on the roof, fingering a tune,” accompanied her. During the recitation of the original Irish- language version, Rice played the traditional Irish carol, “Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil.”


Marni Rice

Noting the connection of the season and peace, the versatile Marni Rice also read two poems about peace from a collection entitled, It’s Not the End of the World, which she began writing on December 21st, 2012.  She also sang an original song called “Pub Tune” from her EP,  Songs for a Small Chamber.


Enjoying the break

After the break , Guenevere Donohue got the crowd into the holiday spirit with her very own Christmas song, “Green and Red Stuff.” She also sang Jackson Browne’s “Rebel Jesus,” accompanied by our extraordinary MC John Kearns on guitar. This was John’s Salon debut on guitar.


Guenevere Donohue with John Kearns on guitar

Continuing the holiday theme, the estimable Honor Molloy brought to life the sounds and the smells of Christmas Eve 1966 on Moore Street—Dublin’s open-air market where market women hawk their wares. Her character, Noleen O’Feeney, goes wandering among the stalls. Honor brought the house down with her reading of the shawlie’s tale of the Baby Jesus and the little oranges!


Honor Molloy

Other presenters offered gifts of their work on other themes.

The talented Tom Mahon read Chapter 10 of his novel in progress American Mastery.The Fenton brothers are given round-trip tickets to Tokyo, but Vietnam War veteran Charlie is petrified of flying and can’t sleep.  He remembers back to 1970 when at mass his brother Raymond denounced the congregation and the priest for letting Nixon bomb Cambodia without a word of protest. He can’t reconcile what he did in the war and what he knows is still happening and getting worse. Kudos to Tom for coming to present at the IAW&A Salon after having partial knee replacement surgery!


Tom Mahon

Presenting a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress,WorldsJohn Kearns read about Father Sarsfield Logan’s return home for his father’s funeral.   Sarsfield’s youngest sister, Kitty, complains to her Jesuit brother that their siblings had begun taking items belonging to their father before he passed away.  Though Kitty couches her outrage over this in terms of its immorality and shamefulness, it soon becomes clear that she is worried that she has not gotten her fair share of her father’s belongings.


Mary Lannon

Mary Lannon read the beginning of a short story, “The Key to Catastrophe Management,” about art weather, and young love(they really are all related!).


Kathy Callahan

Kathy Callahan read from her recent IAW&A blogpost about Sinead O’Connor’s recent concerts in the3 New York are and told a story about a pedophile priest from the parish she grew up in.


Kevin R. McPartland

Member Kevin R.McPartland read an excerpt from a short story entitled,” Lost Loves.” In the story, we are taken to a small town just south of Atlantic City and introduced to a cast of fascinating characters whose lives intersect in a local bar called the Anchorage Tavern. All in attendance loved the story and Kevin promised more to come in future salons.


Don Meade

The versatile Don Meade, leader of the Blarney Star concert series and the Landmark Tavern sessions, ended the night playing a slow air on harmonica followed by a set of reels. He then concluded the evening with an a capella version of, “Muldoon, the Solid Man.”


Don Meade and the appreciative Salon audience

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  See you at the Thalia on January 7th!

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