Irish American Writers & Artists

June 2, 2014

Sarah Fearon’s “Air Rights” on the boards June 19-22

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IAW&A Board member Sarah Fearon’s short play “AIR RIGHTS” will be in this Short Play Festival June 19,20,21, & 22. The festival theme is Only in New York.

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For more info, go to http://www.shortplaynyc.com/only-in-new-york-june-2014-festival-line-up-announcement/

Tickets can be purchased at: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/934968

 

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July 8, 2013

New talent, high spirits at IAW&A salon at Bar Thalia

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By Karen Daly

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That smart comedy duo of Sarah Fearon and Mark Butler hosted the Irish American Writers & Artists salon on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 with great charm. Hot weather, holidays, vacations…nothing seems to prevent a robust turnout at the Bar Thalia. Moreover, nothing stops the creativity and fun from flowing or stops new members from adding their talents to the mix.

The versatile Tom Mahon read the first chapter of a novel with the working title American Mastery. Set in territory that Tom knows well, rural upstate New York, it’s about two brothers who couldn’t be less alike, but who join forces to create a business that provides them and their families an independent, creative and rewarding life together. Tom began (and stopped) writing this novel years ago and recently picked up where he had left off.

Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon  (http://jongordon.artistshare.com) read from his recently released memoir, For Sue – A Memoir, which has been  called “…an American Angela’s Ashes…” (Guillermo Echanique, publisher Chimbarazu Press Brooklyn, NY). The best-selling, award-winning author, Peter Straub says:  “… the exceptional alto player Jon Gordon has written an emotionally honest, in fact painfully open-hearted account of himself as the loving son of an all but entirely inadequate alcoholic, drug-mesmerized mother who forced him to become more her parent than child. This is a book to cherish.”

Si

First time presenter Sile Houlihan Fee said she’d been “sitting, just watching salons long enough” and it was time to present. She told the story of Chicago May, based on a Nuala O’Faolain book. At 15, May fled Co. Longford, Ireland, travelled alone to America in the late 1890’s and pursued a lifestyle that Sile says “ would make a sailor blush.” In O’Faolain’s foreword, she talks about how she learned of May’s existence and her fascinating, though criminal, life. Sile met the late author at a reading at Lolita’s Pub downtown. Sile tried to tell May’s story with Nuala’s enthusiasm and she surely did. A New Yorker with Co. Limerick born parents, Sile grew up in a “thatched cottage” in Woodside. She has been studying the Irish language for four years. She won a Fulbright/Irish government grant to study Irish in the Galway Gaeltacht, the first such grant for Americans studying the language. She is also the mother of two sons and proud seanmháthair of three.

Brendan Costello Jr. read, “De-Fused,” a short piece inspired by Franz Kafka’s “An Imperial Message.” He started by reading the Kafka passage, a parable of hopelessness and entropy, followed by his own darkly comic response, about the 2010 attempt to bomb Times Square. His piece managed to combine road rage, fireworks, and antidepressants, in what he called a tribute to “the 4th of July, the most Kafkaesque of American holidays.”  We called it brilliant!

Maura Mulligan read a poem “Beannacht” (blessing) from the late John O’ Donohue’s book To Bless the Space Between Us. Widely praised for his gift of drawing on Celtic spiritual traditions to create words of inspiration and wisdom for today, his work offers readers comfort and encouragement on their journeys through life.  Maura has a personal connection to O’ Donohue. The Irish teacher, poet and philosopher was a college classmate of her brother John Mulligan and she cherishes her signed copies of his books. Here’s the link to the poem: http://www.worldprayers.org/archive/prayers/celebrations/on_the_day_when_the_weight_deadens.html

In July, Maura will be reading from her memoir, Call of the Lark in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, Westport, Co. Mayo and Achill Island. She has a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Co. Monaghan for three weeks in August. In between all the writing and reading, of course, she’ll be dancing.

The many talented Guenevere Donohue, self-described raconteur-in-training, as well as playwright, director, singer, told a charming story from her childhood, and followed with the song “Love is Teasing.”

Karen Daly is a fan of the Irish born writer Maeve Brennan, who wrote for the New Yorker magazine in the 1950’s and 60’s. Tonight she read Brennan’s Talk of the Town feature set on the miserably hot Sunday of July 3, 1966, when there was “nothing to breathe except heavy displeasure.” Brennan was in a midtown restaurant observing the few customers who happened by — a family, two showgirls  (“Their dresses did all the work.”) and a man from  seemed to be from out-of town. Karen chose this piece because of its timing, but  mainly because Brennan’s powerful description and completeness of expression.  Karen is now tweeting about NYC history, Irish American and Irish events, and books and looking for followers at Kdaly321 on Twitter.

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New member Daniel MacGowan, a physician, wowed the group with his rendition of  the folk song “Sam Hall,” an old favorite of his. It’s about an unrepentant criminal sentenced to hang. Dan looks forward to hearing and telling more tales at the Salon. We can’t wait to hear what else he has in store.

In her salon debut Jen Callan read her first published piece “ Who Do You Think You Are and Is it Limiting You?” Jen shared her yearlong experiment of challenging everything she believed to be true about herself. She discovered that she was much more amazing than she once believed. Although this was her first experience on a mic, she harnessed the energy flowing inside to deliver a heartfelt presentation. She is slowly learning to call herself a writer. She is honored to share her work in a group of such talented artists who shine so brightly. Jen will continue to be a lover of the light. You can find her story at http://www.tinybuddha.com/.

Michele Cetera celebrated the anniversary of her first IAW&A reading one year ago by revisiting the moving story she read that night. Hectic Day is about the life of an oncology nurse, who is pulled in five different directions at once. Nursing can be rewarding and yet exhausting, some days you just want to give it all up. The nurse in the story is having a hectic day:  a patient nearly faints in the hallway, another demands test results and a young patient gets a diagnosis of less than a year to live. Needing a few minutes for herself, the nurse finds a quiet office where she discovers the chart of a previous patient. She reflects on how nurse, patient and patient’s husband dealt with Mattie’s, breast cancer, which she called an “inconvenience.” And  she realizes that in our busy lives and minor  inconveniences, we often lose site of the gift of everyday.

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Mark William Butler presented a comedic sketch called “ Greater Than/Less Than” which is about the tumultuous domestic lives of mathematical symbols. The dynamic acting duo of  Gwen Eyster and  Richard Butler  brought the piece hilariously to life. Mark himself made a cameo appearance as a numeral. The sketch is part of Mark’s comedy revue “Instant Happy!” which played at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in 2009.

Congratulations to Mark for another short comedy. Mark’s “The Laundry War,” also directed by Richard Butler just won a Best Play award at The Players Theatre Short Play and Musical Festival, here in NYC. Link to the festival blog, which includes an interview with the author. http://shortplaynyc.com/blog/

Richard Butler quickly switched from math to history as he celebrated Independence Day and brought the house down with a stirring rendition of the song “Is Anybody There?” from the musical 1776, with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards.

The evening ended with the traditional talk by Malachy McCourt. Tonight he read a piece about his views on what religion has wrought.  “I’m an atheist, thank God.” And  he led us in a stirring version of  “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye.”

Next salon will be Tuesday, July 16, 7 pm at the Cell Theatre.

March 27, 2013

An Evening in Celebration of WILLIAM KENNEDY

An Evening in Celebration of our Inagural Eugene ONeill Lifetime Acheivement Award winner
WILLIAM KENNEDY

in association with Irish American Writers & Artists and the Irish Arts Center

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Thursday, April 11th | 7:30 pm

Admission: FREE |Reservations Essential

Master of Ceremonies

Peter Quinn 

Special Guests

Dan Barry         Aedin Moloney          Tara O’Grady           Mary Tierney

“Kennedy, master of the Irish-American lament in works like Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game and Ironweed,
proves here he can play with both hands and improvise on a theme without losing the beat.” 

– THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

Join us for an evening with William Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, screenwriter and playwright, winner of the , celebrated with readings by Mary Tierney and Dan Barry from Kennedy’s works IronweedRoscoe and others, music by Tara O’Grady, and a conversation with William Kennedy moderated by Dan Barry.

Afterwards join us in the IAC Gallery for a reception and book signing.

William Kennedy, author, screenwriter and playwright, was born and raised in Albany, New York. Kennedy has brought his native city to literary life in Legs, Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ironweed. He is the founding director of the New York State Writers Institute and, in 1993, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has received numerous literary awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and IAW&A’s inaugural Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award.

Thursday, April 11th | 7:30 pm

For more information, and to reserve tickets go to 

http://www.irishartscenter.org/literature/kennedy.html

or call 866.811.4111  

at Irish Arts Center
553 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019

October 26, 2012

“Fireworks” at Salon at the Cell

“The whole night was like fireworks,” playwright Janet Noble said of Tuesday night’s IAW&A’s Salon at The Cell.  The perfect blend of presentations and talents made for an electric evening. There were two singers, three one-person acts that included music, two films, a scene from a play and four writers reading their works. It would be hard to pick the evening’s highlight but Janet’s play,  Hello, Mr. Chops, was certainly a candidate.  The one act play was given an hilarious reading by, as Janet calls them, “two gorgeous actors,” Mary Tierney and Jack O’Connell. It was brilliant and as Janet added, “Completely unrehearsed.” Bravo!
Mary Tierney and Jack O’Connell
Singer/songwriter Tara O’Grady opened the evening performing a melancholic tune called, “An Cuileann Sul Glas” (The Green Eyed Girl). Tara was recently introduced to her ninety-five year old cousin, Packie Moore, the author of thousands of tunes and stories, and her lyrics tell the story of his secret…marrying a Protestant girl in England. Eventually Packie was faced with a harsh dilemma: Which funeral does he attend when his wife and his father die on the same day?  “This but begins the woe, a modern Irish Romeo. Deny thy father, oh he could not.” The songwriting skills are obviously in the blood.
Charles R. Hale presented a film created by Lucy Mathews Heegaard and Charles called Judy Collins: A Life in Music and Video, which  which was debuted at the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award event last week. I told of my “creative process,” how I likened my work to a four movement classical symphony and how the “movement” of the images in the last section of the video called “Peace” were inspired by the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Third Symphony., Charles noted that mentioning Beethoven and him in the same breath might be a stretch, so, as he said, “Go ahead, sue me.” 
Guenevere Donohue
Guen Donohue once again combined her acting, singing and writing talents in a performance from her stage piece, Killer is my Name. Beginning with a haunting Irish funeral dirge known as keening, she then stood on a table and improvised her father’s time spent walking the beams while building the WTC.  As she balanced “on the beam” she told of her father’s lost friends who “took the fall” as well as those who inhaled the asbestos, pronouncing that the buildings had taken lives before it had even been built. Her finale was an original song, “Revered,” yet another haunting vocal performance, weaving together the grandness and melancholy of the WTC experience in the Sean Nos tradition. Poignant, beautiful, cathartic.
Brendan Connellan jumped up and told a fast paced tale of unhealthy addiction, frantic flirtation, tottering self regard, Burgerking bags of cash  and sorry and abrupt endings, taken from his Wall Street dark comic novel-in-progress, Trading Ninja
Cathy Maguire
First time presenter, Cathy Maguire, brought her guitar and sang two beautiful tunes. One, “Portrait” is also the title tune of her recently released CD and tells the story of the songwriter looking at a very old and worn wedding photo and wondering how their lives turned out. It was a great treat hearing this talented singer who was warmly received by salon crowd. 
Kevin R.McPartland began the second half of the evening reading a short passage from his soon to be released novel Brownstone Dreams. Kevin describes the protagonist Bobby Dutton’s sad reflections at his grandfather’ s wake. Kevin also announced a slight delay in the release of his book by Boann Books & Media due to a glitch in the book jacket design and a final edit. Kevin is now anticipating a launch in the early spring.
Seamus Scanlon read from his highly regarded new collection As Close As You’ll Ever Be.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Mysterious Bookshop, Centre for Fiction, City College Bookstore and direct from Seamus (seamus.scanlon@gmail.com).
Malachy McCourt rounded out this dynamic evening with a few fine words and a stirring rendition of “Go, Lassie Go.” A perfect ending to the perfect event.
For more on the Irish American Writers and Artists or their salons, contact Charles R. Halechashale1@yahoo.com  Salons are normally the first and third Tuesday of each month; however, the next salon will be on the second Tuesday of the month, Nov. 13, 7PM at the Thalia Cafe at 95th and Broadway. 
Photos by Cathleen “Cat” Dwyer

October 3, 2012

Folk Legend Tom Paxton to Honor Folk Icon Judy Collins…

…When She Receives Eugene O’Neill Award

Singer, Author and Irish American, Judy Collins to be Honored in NYC on Mon., Oct. 15 with Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award. Writer/actor Malachy McCourt, musician/author Larry Kirwan and Mutual of America CEO Tom Moran, and  John Patrick Shanley—winner of the artist’s TRIFECTA—an Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer Prize!
Judy Collins to be joined by Tom Paxton at Eugene O'Neill Award Celebration
Judy Collins to be joined by Tom Paxton at Eugene O’Neill Award Celebration

Grammy Lifetime-Achievement-Award winning folk singer Tom Paxton will extol the musical career of singer, activist, author, and Sixties icon Judy Collins at the Irish American Writers and Artists (IAW&A) annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, a convivial evening of food, drink, conversation, and song on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 at the Manhattan Club, upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s, 800 7th Avenue (at 52nd Street), New York City, starting at 6 p.m.

With a career spanning five decades, Judy Collins has recorded and performed with the greatest singers of her era, bringing her inimitable style to her own songs as well as to classics by the Beatles, Leonard Cohen, and Bob Dylan. She has recorded 38 albums, featuring such top-40 singles as “Both Sides Now,” and “Send in the Clowns,” and has won numerous music awards, including two Grammys. She is also an author of five books—three memoirs, a self-help book, and a novel. In 1975, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her co-direction of a feature-length documentary.

Likewise, Tom Paxton has been writing, performing and recording music for fifty years. Paxton is credited as the first to emphasize original songs in the folk music scene of the early 60s. Now known to audiences throughout the world, his songs are emotional, comical, and topical and have been recorded by artists such as Pete Seeger, Willie Nelson, and Joan Baez. In addition to his Grammy, Paxton has received the ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award in Folk Music, a Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting at BBC Radio 2’s Folk Awards, and three Washington, DC Area Music Awards (Wammies).

Thomas Moran, Chief Executive Officer and President of Mutual of America Life Insurance, will speak about Judy Collins’s career as an activist.

Also joining the festivities, John Patrick Shanley—winner of the artist’s TRIFECTA—an Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer Prize.

Black ’47 bandleader, author, and playwright of the hit musical, Hard Times, Larry Kirwan, will act as Master of Ceremonies. Malachy McCourt, actor, author, IAW&A co-director, and Collins’s personal friend, will present the award to Collins.

“Judy sings like an angel but has the strength of an iron worker,” said McCourt. “Her career has been like a beacon of light, even though—as befalls us all over a full life–-she has known tragedy and despair.”

“I am thrilled and honored to be given this wonderful award named after the great Eugene O’Neill,” said Collins. “I have always believed that, in my heart, I am first and foremost a storyteller descended from a long line of Irish storytellers and balladeers.”

In addition to the speakers, IAW&A Co-Director Charles Hale will present an original short film about the life and music of Judy Collins entitled “Walls: We Are Nor Forgotten”  and Co-Director Ashley Davis will conclude the ceremony with a song.

The Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2009 to honor the accomplishments of a writer, actor, musician, or cultural institution that has sustained a body of work that best exemplifies the level of integrity maintained by O’Neill. O’Neill Awards have been presented to Pulitzer-prize winning author William Kennedy, actor Brian Dennehy, and Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly of New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre. Judy Collins is the first musician to win the award.

The award, created by Tiffany & Co., will be presented Mon., Oct.15, 2012 at a generous hors d’œuvre and open bar reception and ceremony at the Manhattan Club above Rosie O’Grady’s in Times Square, just a few blocks from where Eugene O’Neill was born. Ticketing information is available at the IAW&A website.

For more information on the IAW&A, visit the organization’s website at http://i-am-wa.org/ or its Facebook page for updates and information.

photos of Judy Collins available at http://www.judycollins.com/index1.php

MEDIA CONTACT: John Lee, John Lee MEDIA
(0) 917-475-6981, (c)  917-653-3444. johnlee@johnleemedia.com , http://www.johnleemedia.com

August 29, 2012

Dan Barry wins the 2012 PEN/ESPN Award for Sports Literary Writing

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IAW&A Advisory Board member is honored for his book “Bottom of the 33rd.”

Aug 29, 2012 – PEN American Center, the largest branch of the world’s oldest literary and human rights organization, today announced the winners and runners-up of the 2012 PEN Awards, the most comprehensive literary awards program in the country. This year marks PEN’s 90th anniversary. For more than 50 of those years, PEN’s Literary Awards program has honored many of the most outstanding voices in literature.

This year’s recipient of the PEN/ESPN Award for a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2011 is Dan Barry for his work “Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball’s Longest Game”. This year’s judges included Marshall Jon Fisher, Rob Fleder, and Mark Mulvoy.

1981 Pawtucket Red Sox team photo
Courtesy of the Pawtucket Red Sox

Award winners and runners-up will be honored at the 2012 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at CUNY Graduate Center’s Proshansky Auditorium in New York City.

Congrats, Dan!

 

July 23, 2012

Salon at The Cell this Tuesday!

The Irish American Writers & Artists’ popular Salon at The Cell will happen a bit later in the month that usual, this Tues., July 24, starting at 7 PM.  On tap, a reading from a novel in progress, a trial run of a scene from a play, an off beat video, a traditional Irish song…who knows?  You have to show up to find out at this FREE fun event.

To return to IAW&A website, click here: http://www.i-am-wa.org/

July 17, 2012

Alphie & Malachy McCourt Featured at Memoir Festival

August 10-12 in Rhinebeck NY

 

Omega’s third annual Memoir Festival brings together celebrated memoirists along with new and seasoned writers who have real stories to tell and the courage to turn them into art. This weekend event is a unique opportunity to steep yourself in an art form that is on the cutting edge of literature today.

This year’s program includes Andre Dubus III (House of Sand and Fog and Townie); Peter Birkenhead (Gonville), Melissa Coleman (This Life Is In Your Hands), and Linda St. John (Even Dogs Go Home to Die). They are joined by the inimitable McCourt brothers, Alphie and Malachy. The weekend is hosted by Fred Poole and Marta Szabo, directors of Authentic Writing.

Memoir, with its commitment to the artist’s own story and life, insists that writers take their own story seriously. It turns the writer inward to the true source of all art. This profound journey takes us from a story in our mind, where logic can prevail, to paper, where art and self-discovery take over and suddenly the outcome to any story is not so fixed.

This weekend you have time to explore and experiment with your own writing, as well as listen to and question some of the most outstanding memoirists in the nation. Through interactive writing workshops, discussions, readings, and the exhilarating chance to share your own work in public, you explore the art and craft of memoir in a beautiful and inspiring natural setting.

For More information, go to: http://www.eomega.org/workshops/omega-memoir-festival/?source=ePromo.OM.FM#-workshop-description-block

July 7, 2012

Cool & Convivial July Salon at Bar Thalia

Day after the big holiday,  sweltering summer night and a shift in date for the Salon, and still they came…new members too! 
It was a wonderful night at last night’s Irish American Writers & Aritsts’ salon at the Thalia Cafe. Best selling author and new member Jeanine Cummins joined us and mentioned she plans to read from her novel in progress at The Cell on July 17th.  Singer-songwriter Tara O’Grady closed the eveing with a song she wrote called “Goodnight Nora,” off her second album, Good Things Come to Those Who Wait.  And photographer Cat Dwyer photos capture the relaxed and convivial atmosphere of Thursday’s salon. 
Mary Gannon began the evening presenting a creative non-fiction piece on a Memorial Day visit to New York’s Tenement museum.  A poignant tribute to 19th century Irish immigrants and their plight, combined with a reflection on her own immigrant childhood.  Mary announced that she plans an essay collection on immigrants, both past and present.
John Kearns read an excerpt from Worlds, his novel in progress about four generations of the Logan family. In the excerpt, Janey Logan, nee Dougherty, reminisces about the night in the late 1950s on which she met James Logan, the man she would later marry, at a traditional Irish music session in West Philadelphia. John announced that his poem, “Transmigration of Soul,” appears in the current issue of the North American Review, published July 1st. 
Jim Rodgers returned and read an excerpt from his novel, Long Night’s End. Johnny Gunn, having been thrown out of his home for his drinking and now living in a flophouse on the Lower East Side, is confronted by his wife Rose about his affair with Molly Farrell– an affair all the more evident as Molly is eight months pregnant. After hearing the truth, Rose, with her heart broken and her Irish up, leaves Johnny to his drinking, his demons, and his continuing spiral into his own private hell. Jim assures us that there will be redemption for Johnny, but where it will come from is anybody’s guess. Terrific writing.
Jim Callaghan presented an essay that dealt with his sometimes humorous, at other times sad views on labor unions, including his own experience in 1966 when he was instructed by his colleagues at the Post Office not to work so fast. He concludes that bad behavior by some union leaders and occasional featherbedding can’t hold a candle to the trillions of dollars stolen in America’s history by oil companies, the Robber Barons, banks, health insurers, some Wall Street operatives and baseball owners.
IAW&A board member John Lee, who last presented about a year ago when he read a blogpost off his cell phone, printed out his copy this time, reading a theater review he wrote for New York Irish Arts that also appeared in Huffington Post. In “Who Speaks for Ireland? Rebel Voices Have Their Say”, Lee gave the double bill of Blood by Larry Kirwan and Dancing at Lunacy by Seamus Scanlon a spirited “Two Thumbs Up” (or should that be “Four Thumbs Up” as it was a double bill?).  Lee gave kudos to  actor Paul Nugent, who starred in both plays, for his performance in Dancing with Lunacy where he crafted “an indelibly rendered character named McGowan, an offbeat wiseass, fuelled by manic energy and freshly brewed tea, a pop music-loving, gun-toting, Clockwork Orange-caliber sociopath for the Republican cause.”
Kate McLeod performed a character study in the form of a letter from 14-year old Abby to her friend Love who is in a State Hospital.  In the letter we learn that her much older boyfriend has been put away for possession of 120 kilos of marijuana and that her mother is an alcoholic. We learn how humiliated and traumatized Abby was when her mother would jump on her with public demands to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry.”  “I would’ve said thank you by myself,” says Abby.  And lastly we learn that Abby would rather be in the state hospital with Love than at home because her father has slept in the same bed with her since she was eight.  A poignant work.
When she was fifteen, Maura Mulligan served pints in a pub in Mayo. Reading from her powerful new memoir, Call of the Lark, Maura beautifully shared the rich conversation of Kilkelly cattle dealers and the gossip she overheard in the snug. Maura will begin a book tour of Ireland next week. 
Tom Mahon, a wonderful reader who possesses a very fine voice, read the second half of a short story of a girl who preservers in the face of great adversity at a young age in 1951. Instead of giving into despair, as is the case so often today, this girl has the difficulties she encounters empower to become educated so she can be in a position to help others, and be effective in changing young girls’ lives. 
Essay and memoir are the forms that most interest me as a writer,” said new IAW&A member Ed McCann.  Last night Ed read “Big Sister,” a chapter about sibling love — and tyranny — from his recently completed memoir.   Ed, a native of both Queens and Brooklyn, is a former television writer/producer and a contributing editor for Country Living magazine.
Kathleen Frazier read from her provocative work-in-progress, Somniloquies: a memoir of sleepwalking. Actress-turned-writer, Kathleen chose a shorter piece of prose and reeled us in with her riveting pacing.  Kathleen’s currently working on the book proposal for her memoir after a successful essay on sleepwalking in the April issue of Psychology Today. A powerful performance by a talented writer and reader.  
TODAY’S SONG:
GOODNIGHT NORA/TARA O’GRADY and ALAN BENNETT
Join us for the next salon at The Cell, 338 W. 23rd Street, 7PM on July 17th. For more info on joining the IAW&A or the salons contact Charles R. Hale at chashale1@yahoo.com

June 27, 2012

Dynamic IAWA General Membership Meeting

Irish American Writers and Artists held the annual meeting of its general membership at the Consulate General of Ireland in New York on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. Last year’s general membership meeting was a galvanizing event that energized the members and made the IAW&A a rapidly advancing organization. So there was a great deal of anticipation and excitement surrounding this year’s meeting.
President T.J. English opened the proceedings with a brief presentation on the group’s recent accomplishments, particularly the outstanding success of the IAW&A Salons at the Thalia Café and the Cell Theatre and the IAW&A’s outreach to diverse cultural organizations. Moreover, since last year, the Board of Directors has doubled in size. T.J. asked all of the Board members present to introduce themselves.
T.J. also announced that A Couple of Blaguards by Frank and Malachy McCourt will be published by Samuel French.
The IAW&A co-sponsored the New York-New Belfast event at Fordham’s Lincoln Center on Wednesday, June 13. This will honor the achievements of IAW&A Board of Advisors member, Pete Hamill.
 Malachy McCourt and former President Peter Quinn took to the podium in order to announce that Judy Collins will be this year’s selection for the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award. The first musician to win this prestigious award, Malachy recounted his phone call to Judy Collins to see if she would be amenable to accepting this honor. Ms. Collins was so thrilled that she cleared her calendar of all events in order to attend the ceremony on October 15th, the Monday closest to Eugene O’Neill’s birthday.
Charles Hale then gave a brief presentation about the Salons, elaborating about the supportive atmosphere they have provided for the presenting artists, and some of the collaborations that have resulted from them, including Hale’s documentary-styled video that features Larry Kirwan’s San Patricio Brigade.  Charles explained that there are plans to take the Salons on the road – to other venues on the Upper East Side, the Lower East Side, Brooklyn, and even other cities.
Larry Kirwan offered the prospect of an Irish American Writers and Artists digital magazine, which would showcase the works of members. The magazine will likely include not only poetry and prose but also artwork and music.
John Lee and Malachy McCourt laid out the initial plans for the Frank McCourt Scholarship, which will be given to a promising senior attending Frank McCourt High School who has demonstrated achievement in writing.
The members then divided themselves up into the committees that included: Membership; Events; Fundraising; Communications; Digital Magazine Development; and the Frank McCourt Scholarship. Former President Peter Quinn and John Kearns were volunteered for the fundraising committee. There were no other volunteers for that group.
General open discussion and Q &A between membership and Board and there was a hearty Irish welcome to Cherie Ann Turpin of Washington, DC, who traveled the furthest to join the festivities. The ritual closing song was led by Malachy McCourt, Lord Blaguard of Limerick-town.
Special thanks to the Consulate General of Ireland in New York, Consul General Noel Kilkenny and Deputy Consul Peter Ryan for hosting our meeting and for their support of our efforts and the efforts of so many Irish groups in the New York area.
Thanks to John Keans and Honor Molloy for filling this story and for Kath Callahan for supplying the photos.
This piece originally appeared in New York Irish Arts, a must-read  for all news artistic and Celtic in NYC and beyond.
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