Irish American Writers & Artists

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!

March 6, 2015

IAW&A Salon 3/3/15 – Eclectic Presentations to a Full House on a Snowy Night

Filed under: Essay,Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 6:27 pm

“Lots of laughs, great music, and some seriously good poetry.” Author Tim O’Mara

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer and Mark Butler

The IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on March 3 featured two brand new book releases, two new member/presenters, two singer-songwriters named John (plus the singular Jack) and a ton of laughs packed in between poetry, drama, fiction and memoir. Our new members commented on the friendly atmosphere and the ease of connecting with other artists. First-timer Thom Molyneaux enjoyed the Salon’s “exuberantly appreciative” audience.

jkJohn Kearns

Salon producer and host John Kearns revised and extended the excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, which he read at the last IAW&A Salon. The Logans are moving from their West Philadelphia home to the more prosperous suburbs. As the movers begin loading furniture onto the truck, Janey Dougherty Logan watches them nervously. Distracted by thoughts of how her children will be affected by the move, Janey converses with her old neighbor, Tom Dugan. After Tom leaves, she reflects on her in-laws’ family history in her new parish and the advantages the move will have for her children. She decides that the suburbs will come to seem like home to her in time. Dare we call this a “moving” passage from John’s multigenerational story?

erik_MErik Mackenzie

NYPD officer Erik Mackenzie pens political thrillers that mirror today’s Middle Eastern conflicts and Russian organized crime. Making his IAW&A Salon debut, Erik read from his new novel The Kingdom of Assassins: Political Perception is Not Political Reality, just released on Kindle and available soon in paperback. Mike Maclaymore, a counter-terrorism detective and former US Special Forces “Green Beret” veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq gets an anonymous tip about a terror plot in New York City. Behind the plot is an Iranian-backed warlord ¾the same man Maclaymore once tried to capture in Afghanistan. A Saudi Princess is in danger after she attempts to be given evidence of financial fraud against the state-owned oil company. Tension rises between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the princess’s brother starts to prepare for war. Find Erik at:



Thom Molyneaux

Thom Molyneaux read the opening pages of his new play Cassidy’s Story. A former IRA leader in the 1920’s who fought in the War of Irish Independence, Cassidy finds himself in 1968 New York City facing the same violence, bloodshed and betrayal he thought he left behind in Ireland. This time it’s not about country and freedom. It’s more personal; it’s about family and honor. A playwright and actor, Thom will play Isaac Strauss, a holocaust survivor, respected psychiatrist and gay icon in Adam Siegel’s Lost in History for The Garage Theatre Group in April in Teaneck, New Jersey. In May, the Detroit Repertory Theatre will present the world premiere of Thom’s play, White Ash Falling 9/11.


Marni Rice

Singer, composer, accordionist and writer Marni Rice can now add poet to her artistic accomplishments. She read selections from her poetry collection titled It’s Not the End of the World, including “This Blue Dress” and “A Blended Whiskey.”

jackJack DiMonte

Jack DiMonte sang “Mr. Sellack” an early ‘80s song by The Roches that is a comic send-up of struggling artists who work soul-sucking survival jobs while pursuing their dreams. (“Mr. Sellack, can I have my job back?…)



Brian Fleming

Dublin performer Brian Fleming gave another glimpse into his show celebrating the St. Pat’s For All Parade, A Sacrilegious Lesbian & Homosexual Parade, currently at the New York Frigid Festival. There are two more chances to see the whole hilarious work, so hurry, last performances on March 7 and 8.


A great IAW&A Audience!

johnSJohn Skocik

Singer-songwriter John Skocik always enlivens the crowd with his original songs. Tonight he sang “This Ain’t Love” and “This Condition of Yours.” He’ll be playing at Three Jolly Pigeons in 6802 3rd Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, this Saturday.

brendan Brendan Costello

Brendan Costello asked for event and writing/performance tip submissions for the IAW&A Weekly Action Update.

timTim O’Mara

The ebullient Tim O’Mara returned to the Salon to celebrate the release of his third Raymond Donne mystery, Dead Red, following the popular and well received Crooked Numbers and Sacrifice Fly.  The hero is a NYC public school teacher and former cop. Find it at your local bookstore and at

Tim comments: “What a great crowd and atmosphere Tuesday night at the salon. Lots of laughs, great music, and some seriously good poetry. It’s always a blast to be with a bunch of talented artists who look like they’d all fit in at an O’Mara Family reunion.”

jeanneJeanne D’Brant

Jeanne D’Brant created no controversy this month (LOL). At the mid-February Salon, she read a sensuous story whose title couldn’t be printed in our newspaper column. Tonight Jeanne recounted more of her fearless travels in “Call of the Faithful” a chapter from her second book Heartlands of Islam. Jeanne’s next project is a two-hour presentation for the LI chapter of the National Council on Geocosmic Research. Her website,, is in the final stages of updating.

munJohn Munnelly

John Munnelly performed three original songs: one loosely based on the story of Oisin and Tir na nOg of Irish myth, “I Think I’m Going Back” and another that John calls “a little ditty about our ‘hood,” “We’re Livin’ in Brooklyn.” He closed the Salon with the world premier of “The Wayfarer” and notes that Salon members joined in the chorus splendidly!

Don’t forget John will be opening for Grammy-winner Susan McKeown this Saturday at the NY Irish Center in Long Island City.

IAW&A members, use this link for a $5 discount:

Please note that the second #iawasalon at The Cell this month will be on Monday, March 16 at 7pm. Don’t miss St. Patrick’s Eve at the IAW&A Salon.




December 12, 2014

12.2.14 IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia: Tales of Generosity, Dignity, Bravery, and Puppy Love

Filed under: Essay,Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:08 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

One guarantee of the IAW&A Salon is that the night will never be repeated…that particular mix of artists and forms and audience won’t happen again. We often find surprising threads that connect many of the night’s presentations. At the 12/2 Salon at Bar Thalia, we had generosity and dignity, from Sean Carlson’s valiant young uncle to the patrons of Murphy’s Bar in Kevin McPartland’s piece to Jon Gordon’s “Jazz angels” and Malachy McCourt’s benefactor.

And strong women were represented, in a salute to the iconic Maureen O’Hara, and in person by three new IAW&A Salon participants:

  • Jeanne D’Brant,
  • poet Maureen Daniels, and
  • Sophia Monegro.


 Sean Carlson

Opening the Salon with a heartbreaking reading, Sean Carlson shared excerpts from another chapter in his yet untitled family memoir. Transporting us again to the Irish countryside in the 1950s, Sean captured the suffering of his uncle Jack as he struggled with an illness during his teenage years — especially painful during the Christmas season. Learn more about the book and subscribe to his email list here:


Kevin R. McPartland

Frequent salon contributor and author of the novel Brownstone Dreams, Kevin R. McPartland was next up. Kevin read a tender short story titled “The Sad Lament of Bicycle Johnny.” Set in a friendly Irish pub called Murphy’s in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, the tale tells of a down- and- out drifter whose trademark is a worn-out bicycle.


Sophia Monegro

Sophia Monegro is an English major and Mellon Mays Fellow at City College of New York, where she studies with Brendan Costello. In her first reading at IAW&A, she shared a short story. Sophia wants to contribute to the literary community by voicing her unique Hispanic, feminist perspective.


Jon Gordon

For Sue, Jon Gordon took Malachy’s advice about “just telling the story” and dazzled the crowd with two anecdotes from his work-in-progress

Jazz Lives about the generosity of artists to each other. One story told how the drummer Art Blakey and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie took saxophonist Phil Woods aside and told him they cared about him and believed in him and how that changed his life. Jon’s other story was how Jackie Gleason broke the color barrier in the studio scene in NY in 1951 by insisting that his new TV show hire to the great jazz bass player Milt Hinton.


John Kearns

Salon producer and host John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel-in-progress, Worlds that brilliantly told some grim Irish history. In steerage on his way to America, Seamus Logan tells stories he heard as a boy about the Rising of the United Irishmen in 1798. After the French landed in Killala, Mayo, together with the local rebels, they had some initial success, which ended a few weeks later with the surrender of the French and the slaughter of the Irish.


Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher paid tribute to that other Maureen –- legendary actress Maureen O’Hara, recent recipient of a long overdue Governors Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for her body of work. Noting especially O’Hara’s roles in two classic films, Miracle on 34th Street and The Quiet Man, Hossbacher sang the theme from the latter, “Isle of Innisfree” ably accompanied on guitar by John Kearns.


Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon’s true story happened on Key Biscayne in the ‘60s while he was a student at the University of Miami.  “Max the Dog” will be part of Tom’s collection of vignettes, Delusions.  Max, a scruffy, yellow mongrel fell in love with an English springer spaniel named Daffney, who was deaf, though Max didn’t know. His lover’s owner threw a party one night and after everyone left a man attacked her owner.  Max bit the man viciously and saved her owner, but Daffney, being deaf, slept through it all and never knew what a heroic little dog Max truly was. They became inseparable with Max doing everything Daffney needed, even when she didn’t know she needed him. Max hoped she’d value him more someday, but she never did, and that was his delusion.

maureen D

Maureen Daniels

Professor Maureen Daniels read  few of her poems for us, including one about the birth of her son.


Christy Jones

Christy Jones, actor, writer and former cabbie, read more of his memoir, Taxi! A child in Ireland, Christy meets his Aunt Madge for the first time. Madge, who played the piano, had returned from England as the war was ending. The young Christy elevated Madge; she was a performer, she was also his godmother. He wanted to learn the piano. His mother bought an old one at an auction. But they never had it fixed or tuned. Christy says plaintively, “There were always notes missing.”


Jeanne D’Brant

First time presenter Jeanne D’Brant shared a gripping tale of the rigors of her travel through the Khyber Pass, from a chapter in her book, Heartlands of Islam. A holistic physician, professor and world traveler, Jeanne leads adventure tours to the rainforests of Central America and writes for scientific publications.

mal Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt told a story that could be called “How Malachy Got His Christmas Wish After 75 Years.” As an impoverished child in Limerick, Malachy would pray for a train set, but his wish was never granted. He told this to a journalist who interviewed him years later in New York. The journalist invited Malachy and his wife Diana to lunch at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central, and after lunch, they went to the NYC Transit Shop in GCT, and guess what, Malachy was presented with a train set! Many people would say the story demonstrates the power of prayer, but our Malachy says it messes up his atheism.

Next one-of-a-kind night: December 16 at The Cell, 7pm.



May 9, 2014

IAW&A Salon at the Thalia, 5/6: A whole lot Irish, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll

Filed under: Irish Politics,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 3:23 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Several Irish-born artists joined the first May IAW&A Salon, including one of the “Transatlantic” poets from last month’s event. An SRO crowd, a variety of talent and a fast-paced program, thanks to host John Kearns, created a stellar night.


Tom Mahon

The talented Tom Mahon kicked off the night by reading a middle chapter of his novel, American Mastery, in which the Fenton brothers are in Frankfurt, Germany after their father dies. They sign another company to manufacture Mr. Kelly’s products. Charlie rises early and walks among Frankfurt’s international banks remembering his dream of being a hotshot financier in a city like Frankfurt. However, he sees what he has with his brother and Holly Simpson and Mr. Kelly, and wouldn’t trade it for anything. In a stunning section, the brothers visit the site of the concentration camp at Buchenwald. Charlie cannot bear to see it; Ray inhales it all so he’ll see it early next time. Can this happen again? Charlie asks, but his brother Ray doesn’t answer.


Phil Lynch

The Dublin-based poet Phil Lynch participated in last month’s Transatlantic Salon and, on Tuesday night, we were pleased to welcome him to the Thalia. He presented five of his poems:  “Encounters” a sonnet to and about love, followed by a futuristic piece “Progress.” Two poems related to Ireland, “If St. Patrick Could See Us Now” about the state of the nation and “1 September 1994” marked the 20th anniversary of the start of the peace process in Northern Ireland. Phil finished his set with “In the Moment,” about finding contentment in our everyday lives. Phil’s work has been widely anthologized and featured on national and local radio including RTE’s Arena Arts Show. A frequent reader/performer at spoken word events in Ireland, he is a member of the organizing committee for Lingo, a spoken word festival to be held in Dublin in October.  And he’s always welcome at the Salon, whether in person or on screen.


Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon read from his poignant book, For Sue – A Memoir, the story of his childhood growing up alone with an alcoholic single mother. Tonight’s excerpt featured stories from Sue’s time in the 50s jazz scene in Los Angeles with Miles Davis, Nat King Cole, Mel Blanc, Jonathan Winters, and others. Sue’s husband, jazz saxophonist Bob Gordon, died in a car accident. Jon Gordon is also a celebrated jazz saxophonist. For Sue is published by Chimbarazu Press and available on Amazon at


Amanda Doherty

New to the IAW&A Salon, but not to the spotlight, Amanda Doherty, actor and writer from Derry City, shared her beautiful love poem “The Eskimo” which was part of 2012 UK and Ireland-wide poetry installation “Peace Camp,” curated by Fiona Shaw. Read it at  Amanda trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Her acting credits include BBC’s The Fall, Hedda Gabbler and most recently, Medea Redux in NYC. She will return to the city in October when her original one-woman show Inheritance is showcased In the United Solo Festival on Theatre Row, W. 42nd Street.

Writes Amanda: “Thank you so much for welcoming me into your community so closely last night- it was a pleasure to get to meet you all and I cannot wait to be with you again this coming fall.”


John Kearns

Salon producer and host John Kearns read a new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, in which Logan-family patriarch, Seamus, arrives in the new world from Ireland. Seamus decides not to accompany his friends to a bar but to make his way along crowded and alien South and Pearl Streets to Saint James’s Church, dedicated to his English namesake. There he makes his first stop in his new country.


Maxine Linehan and her husband, Andrew

Another Irish-born performer made new fans and friends tonight with her beautiful voice and well-chosen songs. Cork-born, New York based singer Maxine Linehan performed two songs from her current solo concert, An American Journey. Accompanied on guitar by her husband Andrew Koss, she sang “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” originally performed by Martina McBride and U2’s  “Walk On.”


Maxine offers a special discount for IAW&A members –  $22 and that includes admission and complimentary drinks and snacks. Hurry, there are only two more performances:  Sunday May 11 and Wednesday May 14. The show is at the world class Terminus recording studios in Times Square (723 Seventh Avenue btw 48th & 49th Streets), doors open at 6pm, show at 7pm. For the discounted tickets:


Vivian O’Shaughnessy

Poet, translator and visual artist Vivian O’Shaughnessy read the poem “Combat/Battle of the Sexes,” which she translated, from the French. The poem is from the forthcoming collection Woman, I Am (Je La Femme, Enfin), poems about women by French/Italian academician Giovanni Dotoli. Vivian created the cover and 30 drawings for the book. She is often at the Salons at The Cell with her sketchpad. You can see her art at


Mary Lannon

Mary Lannon read the end of her short story “The Key To Catastrophe Management” in which her main character obsesses about the weather as a way to cope with romantic rejection. Mary’s working on publishing her first novel. Help her out by visiting her terrific website where you can friend her character on Facebook (and discover the title of the novel).


Christie Jones

First time presenter Christie Jones (also Irish-born, friend of Malachy’s) shared an essay “Reflections on A Dark Pool” about his early experiences in New York, making his way as an actor, supporting himself and his family as a cab driver. We hope to hear more of his work.


John Skocik

Last musical performance of the night belonged to rocker John Skocik, lead singer of the band Girl to Gorilla. (Like the band on Facebook.) John performed two of his original songs – “Movin’ to LA” and “Ordinary Life.” John is also an accomplished actor and always bring house down when he performs at the Salon.


Malachy McCourt

Our customary closer, Malachy McCourt, who started the IAW&A Salon almost three years ago, and presides as godfather and guiding spirit, offered some gentle advice to presenters, namely,  “Tell the fookin’ story.  Don’t read it” and urged us to consider the crowd not as an audience, but as friends. In closing, Malachy led the friends in a sweet round of the classic “Down by the Salley Gardens.”

Friends, next Salon will be May 20 at 7 pm at the Cell. Join us there.

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!

January 24, 2014

Member Tim Dwyer Calls for Action on Imprisonment of Activitist/Writer/Actress Margaretta D’Arcy

Filed under: American Politics,Irish Politics,Social Activism,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 2:50 pm
by Tim Dwyer
IAW&A Members: Please, as concerned individuals, support the release of Margaretta D’Arcy from Limerick Prison. She is one of the original members of Aosdana. Whether you agree with her political beliefs and her non-violent actions that preceded her incarceration- walking onto a runway at Shannon Airport with one other person to protest U.S. military use of the airport-it is unethical to place a 79 year old woman with cancer and Parkinson’s Disease in Limerick prison for 3 months.
A 2012 official Irish report concluded that Limerick prison has a number of serious deficiencies, including its medical care. With Margaretta’s medical issues, incarceration could be a death sentence.  There were more humane, healthy and safe ways to incarcerate Margaretta, such as house arrest.
I am calling on concerned members, particularly those strongly networked, involved with the media, with leadership and organizing abilities, to help us identify and execute means of expression, that may include letters, meetings or vigils  promoting these concerns to such entities as the Irish Consulate and the Irish Minister of Justice.  As I have none of these strengths and live 100 miles north of NYC, I am calling on our esteemed and accomplished members to lead the way in this important issue.  Believe me, I am not experienced in activism, so I am asking others for help.
Please respond so we can begin identifying and executing our expressions of concern.  This will be the expression of concerned individuals, and not an official statement of IAW&A.   I thank you for Margaretta!

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 8, 2013

A Perfect Mix of Talent and Creativity at IAW&A Salon on 12/3/13

Filed under: Events,Irish Politics,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 3:55 am

By Karen Daly
Photos by John Lee

Variety and originality were on tap at Tuesday’s IAW&A salon at Bar Thalia. Host Sarah Fearon warmed up the crowd with her comedic riffs and smoothly led an evening that was a perfect mix of fiction, memoir, music, and laughter.


Sarah Fearon

We welcomed Eamon Loingsigh who read from his forthcoming historical novel set in the Irish controlled Brooklyn waterfront of the early 20th century, Light of the Diddicoy. Although the book is not slated for publication until St. Patrick’s Day, 2014, Three Rooms Press has scheduled some pre-publication readings, due to early interest in Eamon’s work. If you saw Eamon at the salon, you’d know why. Beautifully written, sensitively delivered.  Visit Eamon’s blog for Light of the Diddicoy at:  and the Facebook page:


Eamon Loingsigh

At earlier salons, Karen Daly has presented work about her family and about New York Irish history. Tonight’s reading was a little more personal. Years ago while going through a tough time, she surprisingly took up bicycling. Karen shared what she’s learned and what’s she gained during these years, and hopes the title says it all: “Miles:  How One Broken Heart Led to Two Broken Arms, A Colorful Lycra Wardrobe, Great Friends and Adventures, and Maybe Even God.” Karen tweets @KDaly321about what she loves beyond cycling: books, music, Irish Americana, New York.


Karen Daly

Tim O’Mara did not read from either of his two well-reviewed mystery novels, Sacrifice Fly and Crooked Numbers. Instead, he did a killer comedy routine that paid homage to the telephone bits that comedian Bob Newhart used to do. Tim thought that a teacher calling Jesus Christ’s home for his contact and family information would be a neat way to do it. Says Tim “I hope to God I was right!” OMG, he was! Visit


Tim O’Mara

A member of Mystery Writers of America NY, Gary Cahill has been entertaining us with his expert short crime fiction. In “On A Two-Way Street” a bagman with a big gun and a bag of diamonds is saved, rather than sacrificed, by a very different sort of femme fatale. The tough-guy is tenderized by the newfound, and lost, love of his life. Gary’s work can be found at Plan B Magazine and Short Story Me Genre Fiction —, and


Gary Cahill

It’s hard to resist the charm of author and singer-songwriter Michael Sheahan. Michael performed his original songs “The Roof Top Hop” and “Jingle Jangle Jingle All Night Long” from his three-time award winning production of Mr. Holidays Presents the Roof Top Hop Book, CD and DVD. If there are children on your shopping list, find it at\


Michael Sheahan

Salon regular and inventive talent Guenevere Donohue shared a brand new folk song that she wrote about the man who ran the carousel in Coney Island. “The Carny Song” is a gospel-influenced poem about a life on the edge of other peoples’ dreams. With her soulful voice and cheese grater in hand (yes, percussion), Guen’s performance brought to mind the ocean waves crashing, and gave us a fantastic moment in another person’s skin.


Guenevere Donohue

Kathy Callahan told a personal story about visiting her grandfather in Hudson County, New Jersey a few days after returning from Dallas after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Her grandfather, a fierce admirer of JFK, would say,  “He’s alive in spirit, Kathy. He is dreaming us all the way to the moon! No one can take the dream or him away from us.” Her grandfather’s stories continue to shape Kathy’s life and inspire her imagination. Author Susan Casey visiting from Venice, CA, called Kathy “ a masterful and thoroughly entertaining story teller…. Kathy Callahan’s story left me wanting to hear the rest of the story and more…” Malachy McCourt roared, “Kathy, you’ve got it all.”


Kathy Callahan

Then Malachy McCourt roared some more, bringing the salon to a rollicking close.  What’s on Malachy’s mind?   Conspiracies;  eloquent, imaginative curses; work (“not his thing”); original sin (Well, all Malachy’s sins are original).  He sang “Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go”  and we reluctantly went — ended another one-of-a-kind salon.


Malachy McCourt

Don’t forget the next salon, Tuesday, December 17 at The Cell, where there will be special Christmas presentations!

November 24, 2013

Lively November Salon at the Cell, Bookended by Irish Singer-Songwriters

Filed under: Events,Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 11:55 pm

by Mary Lannon 
Photos by Margaret McCarthy and Mark William Butler

Music bookended a night that featured a play, plenty of fiction, and even some ghost stories at a crowded Tuesday night salon at the Cell.


Peadar O’Hici and Pio Ryan

Peadar O’Hici and banjo player, Pio Ryan, led off the night with some foot-stompin’ tunes. “The Irish Echo” (not the newspaper) is a song about Irish immigration and keeping the past in mind as we march into the future.  “The Blind Eye” is a song about choosing to ignore certain injustices in the world in order to continue to participate in society in a way that is compatible with mainstream media and mainstream political agenda.

Irish Amarican Writers and Artists Salon Reading, The Cell Theat

John Munnelly

The night ended with John Munnelly singing a Christmas ballad of his own composing, intended to be “pure and unfettered by modern story ornaments.”  Munnelly also sang  two other songs:  “The Reason Why,” a slow jazz inflected number for as he jokingly says, “all those who have lost someone and don’t know where they left them” and “Green Card Blues,” recently composed by Munnelly in Ireland.  See more of Munnelly at a fund-raiser Christmas show at 6 p.m. on Dec. 16th.  Information at

Irish Amarican Writers and Artists Salon Reading, The Cell Theat

Daniel MacGowan and Kathy MacGowan

In between the two musical acts, the audience was treated to a dramatic scene from Sheila Walsh’s Finders expertly performed by Kathy MacGowan and Daniel MacGowan playing ex-spouses.   The two actors captured the wit and compassion of this work that looks at the terrain of art, money and heart.  And let’s not forget that kiss: talk about chemistry!  We look forward to more scenes from this exciting play.

Irish Amarican Writers and Artists Salon Reading, The Cell Theat

Michael Nethercott

The multi-talented Michael Nethercott, visiting from Vermont, sang a song and told some true ghost stories from his sprawling Irish family that sent shivers up audience member’s spines.  He then read from his new mystery novel The Séance Society just out from St. Martin’s Press.

Irish Amarican Writers and Artists Salon Reading, The Cell Theat

Kathy Callahan

Kathy Callahan offered two stories: one a touching tale about the memorial reading for Seamus Heaney and the other a Kafkaesque nightmare of a traffic stop gone wrong.  In the second story, the main character conducted her own hostage negotiation on behalf of herself as she was surrounded on all sides by a sea of blaring black and bluest of blue.  She walked the tightrope but she could not walk the line in 7 inch heels with sirens flashing and headlights blaring in her beguiling smiling eyes after the show -in the swamps of Jersey.

Irish Amarican Writers and Artists Salon Reading, The Cell Theat

Margaret McCarthy

Playwright and poet Margaret McCarthy read a monologue from a female Beatle fan featured in her play The Sacrificial King: A Play for John Lennon, which is scheduled for a Dec. 9 reading as part of the “Talent On Tap” Reading Series at Ryan’s Daughter.  Set against the turbulence of the 60s, the play tells the coming-of-age stories of both the fan who is also an aspiring young artist and John Lennon as they cope with questions about fame and family. For McCarthy, the play’s over-riding question became: What in our nature causes us to build up and then tear down our heroes?

As always, a talented slate of fiction writers also read from their work.

Irish Amarican Writers and Artists Salon Reading, The Cell Theat

Cherie Ann Turpin

The versatile Cherie Ann Turpin, an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of the District of Columbia, read her short stories “doll,” “Red Canister,” and “Baracas,” as well as her poem  “Invoking the Vision.” Turpin’s publications include the book How Three Black Women Writers Combined Spiritual and Sensual Love: Rhetorically Transcending the Boundaries of Language (Mellen 2010). Her poetry has appeared in  Reverie: Midwest African American Literature.  She will present her essay “Reimagining Gabriel Byrne: Heteronormativity, Irish Diaspora, and Celebrity Culture” at the 2014 PCA/ACA Annual National Conference in Chicago, April, 2014.  Follow her  on Twitter: @drturpin.

Irish Amarican Writers and Artists Salon Reading, The Cell Theat

Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon entertained the crowd with the latest chapter from his business novel-in-progress, Mastery in which Charlie Fenton nurses a crush on Holly Simpson, his bank co-worker,  though he has never been able to say a word to her.  That is, until the bank picnic when his brother introduces him to her, and Holly asks if he’s going to Japan, and he says, “yes”.  Now he has to go, but he’s deathly afraid of flying.  He’d rather face a firing squad and get it over quicker.

Irish Amarican Writers and Artists Salon Reading, The Cell Theat

John Kearns

Our avuncular host John Kearns read a new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds.  Laura, the bartender, is driving her rundown BMW toward midtown Manhattan and ultimately Hell’s Kitchen in the wee hours of Holy Thursday 1998.  The young Englishman, Gavin,is asleep in the backseat and Paul Logan is giving directions and hoping to have a more meaningful exchange with Laura. As the car gets closer to Madison Avenue, Paul’s dilemma is portrayed more and more in parodies of famous advertising slogans.

Irish Amarican Writers and Artists Salon Reading, The Cell Theat

Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon read an excerpt from his book, For Sue, which focuses on his friendship with the great jazz drummer, Eddie Locke. A long time resident of the Upper West Side, Eddie was also a living history lesson of jazz and had a great impact on me.

Two of the fiction pieces referenced JFK as the nation reflects on the 50th anniversary of his assassination Nov. 23rd.


Gary Cahill

Mystery Writers of America NYC crime writer Gary Cahill capped a series of readings from his JFK-related short stories with a masonry-nail-tough selection from “Fathers, Sons, Ghosts, Guns”, currently featured in the Big Pulp Magazine print anthology The Kennedy Curse.  In the story, a modern-day oil baron fails to get his son (and business heir) to accept and come to terms with the family’s violent history

Irish Amarican Writers and Artists Salon Reading, The Cell Theat

Brendan Costello Jr.

And in quite a different take Brendan Costello Jr., a creative writing instructor at The City College of New York, read the final installment of his story “Circus Brunch at Zapruder’s,” where the chickens come home to roost for the narrator, who works at a restaurant with a theatrical experience built around the Kennedy assassination.  Just in time for the 50th anniversary of that tragic moment in American history, the story ended with a twist that demonstrates how our personal lives can be affected by the echoes of history.  Bonus: believe it or not, here’s the “official” MTV video for this song:

Irish Amarican Writers and Artists Salon Reading, The Cell Theat

Mary Lannon

Last but not least, Mary Lannon offered a short untitled piece that involved a cat, a talking chocolate chip cookie and a resident weather forecaster (because every story should have a resident weather forecaster!).

A great night at the Cell!  Happy Thanksgiving!  See you at Bar Thalia on December 3rd …

August 9, 2013

More Captivating than a Car Crash: Family Themes, Enchanting Music & Stories Mark IAW&A’s August 6th Salon

Filed under: Events,Film,Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 4:26 pm

by Mary Lannon

Photos by Cat Dwyer

A story of a young woman who decidedly doesn’t want to be her mother as told by Philomena Connors and a song about a man who realizes much to his chagrin that he has become his father sung by John Byrne were just two highlights of a salon full of family-themed drama at the Thalia Tuesday night.

Before the salon began IAW&A board member, John Lee, announced an upcoming IAW&A theater night at Brendan at the Chelsea, an Off-Broadway play from Belfast’s Lyric Theatre about the legendary and notorious Dublin writer, Brendan Behan, and his waning days of his life spent at NYC’s famed artists’ hotel, The Chelsea. Adrian Dunbar will make his New York stage debut starring in the role of Behan. The play runs from Sept. 4 to Oct. 6, and the IAW&A will soon announce the details and discounted ticket prices of its planned mid-September Theater Night.  Lee also reminded the Salon about the Eugene O’Neill Award Celebration on Oct. 21, which this year honors the writer, John Patrick Shanley, who has already won the trifecta of a Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar and a Tony Award.


John Lee

Connors’ piece chronicled a young woman’s journey from 1970s rural Ireland to the water’s edge in Cuba.  Water served as a theme for change and growth and linked the two islands’ histories of revolution. The main character, Sarah, recounted with a great deal of humor her own revolt against social expectations for women.


Philomena Connors

In contrast, Byrne’s narrator in his song “Old Man’s Disguise” processes the relationship with his Dad, and to his surprise recognizes that he has become his father.  Byrne also sang “Various Verses” as a tribute to the people who used to come to his house in Dublin and sing.  The pride each person took in his/her song inspired this piece.  Both songs are on Byrne’s After the Wake album. Visit


John Byrne

Byrne and Connors were not the only ones to take up the theme of family and its influences.

Her mother was a big focus in Maureen Hossbacher’s piece called “Tables.”  Having planned to write about food, the muse moved her to write a backhanded, affectionate tribute to her mother, eliciting laughs from the audience and, no doubt, fond memories of many of their own childhood tables.


Maureen Hossbacher

Jon Gordon told of the by turns heart-breaking and funny relationship between Gordon and his addicted and depressed mother in his memoir, For Sue.  The self-published memoir, which also delves into the many tragedies that befell his mother, will soon be out through Chimbaruzu publishing.  Gordon will also have two books for students of jazz improvisation on Colin Music out later this year.


Jon Gordon

Tom Mahon opened with a family-themed piece from his novel American Mastery. It tells of two brothers who experience setbacks but join talents and inadvertently create a prosperous and creative business. In the excerpt that he read from chapter two, the brothers meet the man who shows them the creativity and rewards of being an entrepreneur.  Mahon enjoyed reading it, and it showed; it was very well received.


Tom Mahon

John Kearns also told of two brothers in an excerpt set in 1920s Philadelphia from his historical novel-in progress Worlds. Folks who were at the Cell in July heard the first part of the scene that Kearns continued Tuesday night. This time his character James Logan takes his brother, Rev. Sarsfield Logan S.J., on a tour of his luxurious new home on Philadelphia’s Main Line.  After the tour, in the kitchen with his wife, Mariellen, James complains that his brother showed no excitement about anything in the well-appointed house except for an old walking stick that belonged to their father. When they rejoin Sarsfield in the living room, they suspect that he might have overheard their conversation…


John Kearns

Another part of the history of the Irish diaspora was the topic of Mary Pat Kelly’s talk on her adventures in research as she writes Of Irish Blood, a sequel to her historical novel Galway Bay based on her own family’s story. Of Irish Blood follows her great aunt to Paris in 1912 where in real life she was a buyer for Marshall Field but in fiction she meets and befriends Maud Gonne, Constance Markievicz and other women of the Irish Revolutionary movement.


Mary Pat Kelly


Mary Pat gamely competed with a car accident that took place outside the Thalia’s window — and won!  Rumors are spreading that the driver was the grandniece of Countess Markievecz, once removed.


Jack DiMonte, Mary Lannon, & Karen Daly enjoying the break

mark d

Mark Donnelly recommends Kelly Kinsella’s play at the Cell Theatre

Other enchanting works did not pick up on family themes.

Kevin McPartland read an excerpt from his novel, Brownstone Dreams, newly published by Boann Books and Media.  In the excerpt, teenager Bobby Dutton finds himself in the Brooklyn House of Detention after breaking a window in a Park Slope jewelry store.  When he is suddenly bailed out, he is shocked to learn that the bail was paid by the father of his former neighborhood nemesis, Vincent Casseo.


Kevin McPartland

Ed Farrell, following advice offered by Malachy McCourt, told rather than read from his historical novel employing magic realism, An Inconvenient Resurrection.


Ed Farrell

Sarah Fearon offered the audience a preview of her in-progress short film entitled Snazzy Peabody.  Snazzy is an over-the-top broker and legend in her own mind. Sarah read and improvised on, among other themes, the concept of “ownership” to be featured in the upcoming shoot in Coney Island.


Sarah Fearon

Mary Lannon did a smashing job of reading through the fender-bender that took everyone’s eyes out the Thalia’s windows.  She read a scene about moving to a new school in the middle of the year from her finished novel (with its impossibly long title) Explanation of the Fundamentals of the Derivation of Dilapidated Brown Station Wagon Theory aka How I Became A Scientist and Discovered the Truth About Parallel Universes by Miranda J. McCleod.  The novel recounts the life and times of a girl science geek who believes that at the age of 14 she got sucked through a faulty air-conditioner and landed in a parallel universe.


Mary Lannon

Last but hardly least, the lilting soprano of visitor from Ireland, Katie McGale’s singing “She Moved Through the Fair” ended another inspiring night at the Thaila.


Katie McGale

The next salon is August 20th at the Cell.   See you there!.

Be careful out there

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