Irish American Writers & Artists

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
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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


February 20, 2014

IAW&A Sponsors Event at Museum of the City of New York with Peter Quinn, Terry Golway & more…(discount for members)

Immigrant, Archbishop, and Politician: John Hughes and the Rise of Irish New York
Thursday, March 13 at 6:30 pm

Join us for an evening exploring the life of legendary New Yorker John Hughes (1797-1864) as portrayed in both fact and fiction. A pivotal figure in the history of New York City and its Irish-American experience, Hughes presided as the Catholic archbishop of New York from the Irish Famine immigration until nearly the end of the American Civil War. First, playwright and author Honor Molloy and New York Times columnist Dan Barry will read excerpts from novelist Peter Quinn’s Banished Children (Overlook TP, 2008) and historian Terry Golway’s Machine Made (Liverwright, 2014), which capture Hughes in his varied roles as prelate, politician, and ethnic leader. After a musical interlude by Mick Moloney, featuring political and popular songs of the period, Peter Quinn and Terry Golway sit down with moderator Jim Quinn for a lively discussion about Hughes and his times.

Co-sponsored by the Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc.   IAW&A members can order tickets and get a 40 percent discount by using code “3IAWA14″ HERE


October 15, 2013

‘The Biggest Part of Writing Is Showing Up’ A Conversation with Peter Quinn

Filed under: Literature — by johnleemedia @ 11:39 pm
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Intro to an interview with one of our IAW&A founders and past president Peter Quinn

Peter Quinn’s newest novel is Dry Bones, the third book in a trilogy that also includes Hour of the Catand The Man Who Never Returned. His previous works include the novel Banished Children of Eve, which won a 1994 American Book Award and is now entering its twentieth year in print, and Looking for Jimmy: In Search of Irish America, a collection of nonfiction essays. Quinn, a historian and a former political and corporate speechwriter, has published numerous articles and reviews in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times,America, and Commonweal. He recently spoke with Commonweal’s digital editor, Dominic Preziosi.Dominic Preziosi: Your new novel, Dry Bones, completes the trilogy that began with Hour of the Cat. Did you start out with the intention of writing a series?

Peter Quinn: No. I had written Banished Children of Eve, and it took ten years, so I wanted to write a quick book. And because I love Raymond Chandler, I wanted to write a noir detective novel. So then I had an idea that instead of stumbling on a single murder, what if a detective stumbled on the biggest murder plot in history—eugenics and the Holocaust. So my quick book turned into an eight-year book, because of all the research. But I then found that I wasn’t finished with this detective and I had another idea. I’ve always been fascinated with the Judge Crater case, and my publisher said, “We’ll put your detective Fintan Dunne on the case and we’ll do a trilogy.” But I didn’t want to be locked into a time schedule—I wanted to be able to skip around. So Hour of the Cat is set in 1938, The Man Who Never Returned is set in 1955 but goes back to a case from 1930, and the third book is in postwar Slovakia in 1945 and then jumps to Havana in 1958.

To read the whole interview, please go to


October 10, 2013

Gabriel Byrne, Colum McCann, William Kennedy Join in Advance Praise for Peter Quinn’s “Dry Bones”

Past president of the IAW&A Peter Quinn has penned (and he still writes by pen) the finale of his Fintan Dunne trilogy, due on the bookshelves on November 1.   Here are some early reactions and reviews of Dry Bones…

dry bones 971378_10201591163244747_518260922_n

“Peter Quinn is a poet and an historian and one of our finest storytellers. He sits at the fireside of the American imagination. He can carve mystery out of mystery. The work is generous and agile and profound.” – Colum McCann

 # # #

Kirkus Reviews


Author: Peter Quinn


Pages: 352

Price ( Hardcover ): $25.95

Publication Date: October 31, 2013

ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-4683-0736-8

Quinn’s final installment in a spy trilogy that began with Hour of the Cat (2005) and The Man Who Never Returned (2010) sends New York PI Fintan Dunne on a secret wartime mission to Slovakia to rescue OSS officers from the last gasps of Nazi aggression.

Dunne and his deceptively tough partner, the poetry-spouting banker’s son Dick Van Hull, barely escape Slovakia, where nothing is as it was described. A slippery chain of events exposes them to Dr. Karsten Heinz, a war criminal whose grave offenses include supervising gruesome experiments on concentration camp victims. Not only does Heinz avoid conviction, he appears to be among the many Nazi scientists and technicians being imported by the U.S. government to aid in the fight against communism. That men who were employed by Hitler to help kill millions would be awarded new careers in America is, says an outraged OSS officer, “the greatest danger we face…becoming the enemy we oppose.”

Jump to 1958. Working for a high-profile Manhattan security firm (complete with a smart and beautiful office assistant), Dunne comes across coded instructions to meet an OSS crony who has crucial information about Heinz’s whereabouts. More old friends and foes emerge from the shadows, while Van Hull, now a drunken shadow of his old self, remains hidden with a secret of his own.

Quinn writes with elegant restraint; he’s a master of tone and a deft orchestrator of people and events. His portrayal of Wild Bill Donovan, controversial head of the OSS, is but one of his sure-handed transformations of reality to fiction.

Gripping up to the end, the book—which takes its title from the old spiritual about everything being connected—will send readers who were new to Quinn back to his other books in the series.

# # #

Dry Bones is a savvy, suspenseful tale of World War II espionage and Cold War skullduggery in which Fintan Dunne cements his place in the PI pantheon alongside Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade. Dunne can be misled and mishandled, but he can’t be deterred. Every bit as unpredictable as Quinn’s first two installments, this riveting conclusion to the trilogy leaves no doubt that Dunne is an ace of Spades who knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.” – William Kennedy

# # #


Issue: October 15, 2013

Dry Bones.

Quinn, Peter (Author)

Nov 2013. 352 p. Overlook/Duckworth, hardcover, $25.95. (9781468307368).

WWII is nearing its end in Europe, but General “Wild Bill” Donovan, head of the Office of StrategicServices, picks Fintan Dunne and Dick Van Hull to parachute into occupied Czechoslovakia to extract OSS officers dropped there to organize the Czech resistance. Immediately, Dunne and Van Hull are on the run, from Nazis, Czech Fascists, Russian troops, and hordes of refugees. They barely get out alive, but they discover an appalling secret that could cost them their lives.

Quinn’s plots defy easy summary, but his characters fascinate, and his sense of place and time is compelling. Dunne has seen too much war and salutes lost comrades with altar-boy Latin prayers. Van Hull’s recitations of poetry provide apt punctuation for everything the men experience.

Quinn’s Czechoslovakia is a maelstrom; his evocation of ruined German cities almost palpable. Donovan’s skill at navigating Washington’s internecine wars, his abrupt jettisoning at war’s end, and the dismissal of war-crimes charges for hundreds of culpable Nazis deemed useful in the coming Cold War are vividly drawn. Readers who want to really taste history will welcome

Dry Bones. – Thomas Gaughan

# # #


“From first sentence to last, Peter Quinn keeps the reader gripped. I love the simplicity of the writing: it is both subtle and intelligent. Peter Quinn is such a marvelous storyteller that sometimes it’s hard to tell fact from fiction. But you know you are in a world that is singular and compelling. Fintan Dunne is a splendid creation, a character you will remember long after you have finished this superb novel.” – Gabriel Byrne

August 19, 2013

Peter Quinn Reading and Q&A about his new novel “Dry Bones” at IAC, Nov. 19

Filed under: Literature — by johnleemedia @ 11:54 am
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Peter Quinn
and Dry Bones, The Final Chapter of the Fintan Dunne Trilogy

Tuesday, November 19 | 7:30 pm

“Peter Quinn just might make it into the history books himself. He is perfecting, if not actually creating, a genre you could call the history-mystery.” – James Patterson, The New York Times bestselling author

Celebrated Bronx writer Peter Quinn (Banished Children of Eve, Looking for Jimmy: In Search of Irish America, Hour of the CarThe Man Who Never Returned) returns to the Irish Arts Center to read from his recently released historic novelDry Bonesthe final installment of the detective Fintan Dunne series, which centers around an ill-fated OSS mission in the Eastern front and its consequences more than a decade after World War II. Join Peter for a Q&A after his reading to learn more about his exhaustive research on World War II and the liberties a writer sometimes has to take with history.

For tickets go to

March 3, 2013

Men at Lunch – Lón sa Spéir March 7th at 7:30pm

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 7:48 pm
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Engaging documentary film Men at Lunch is the untold story of New York’s greatest legend and one of the most iconic images of the 20th century – Lunch atop a Skyscraper – taken on the 69th floor of the Rockefeller Building in the autumn of 1932.

Irish backstory to iconic image, includes interview with IAW&A past president Peter Quinn

$20 includes film & party (Heinken & Tullamore Dew open bar 9-11pm

Click HERE to read Huffington Post blogpost about Men at Lunch  by IAW&A board member John Lee.

October 19, 2012

Judy Collins’s O’Neill Award Celebration Reunites Folk Legends and Inspires Artists

by John Kearns

“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.”   Judy Collins

Eugene O’Neill Award, crafted by Tiffany & Co.

On Monday, October 15, 2012, in the middle of the one of the year’s great celebrations, the The Irish American Writers & Artists Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Awards Celebration, 93-year-old folksinger, songwriter, and fighter for civil rights, peace, and the environment, Pete Seeger, stood strumming his enduring banjo before a hushed audience of over 200.

“If the world is still around in another 100 years,” he declared, “it will be because of the arts.”


And the large crowd in attendance at the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award at the Manhattan Club above Rosie O’Grady’s on a rainy Monday night was testament to the truth of Seeger’s declaration.  The crowd, representing all genres of the arts, had gathered to celebrate Judy Collins’s lifetime of artistic achievement and to show its commitment to further such achievement.  The spirit of inspiration, encouragement, generosity, and cross-pollination was abundant in the friendly atmosphere of the Manhattan Club.  Indeed, Judy Collins’s long-time friend on the folk music scene, Tom Paxton, was on hand to honor her, as was Pete Seeger.  Even the City of New York showed its support for the arts: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn issued a special proclamation in honor of the event.


In keeping with the musical theme of the evening, Black ’47 bandleader, author, and playwright, Larry Kirwan, acted as Master of Ceremonies.  Larry got the ceremony started by introducing IAW&A President, T.J. English.

TJ English


T.J. who has taken over the presidency from Peter Quinn, apologized for not being as eloquent as his speech-writer predecessor.


“While Peter was writing about ‘a shining city on a hill’ for Mario Cuomo, I was saying, ‘Get the fuck out of my cab.’”


Past President Peter Quinn & Current President TJ English

TJ updated the audience on some of the progress made by the IAW&A over the past year, in particular the burgeoning success of the semimonthly Salons at the Café Thalia and the Cell Theatre.  These evenings have become so popular that IAW&A is preparing a third monthly gathering of artists to share their work with one another.


T.J. also talked about the mission of the IAW&A and of the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award.  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 receive the award.


However, the IAW&A president added, there is another purpose of the award that might not be found in its official description.  By recognizing an individual such as Judy Collins who, with her 38 albums and five books, has spent a lifetime as an artist, the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award can inspire others to forge a career in the arts, a career for which “there are no entry-level positions and there is no blueprint.”


Larry Kirwan next introduced Tom Moran, Chief Executive Officer and President of Mutual of America Life Insurance.  Tom began by saying, like T.J., he had been a New York City cab driver.  But, unlike T.J., before chasing customers out of the cab, “I always made sure to get the tip.”


Tom Moran

Tom Moran said that he has no talent himself but he does have the ability to listen — not only with his ears but with his heart.  Listening with both ears and heart, Moran explained, was necessary to appreciate the beautiful voice and the soulful emotion in the music of Judy Collins.  He also praised Judy Collins’s work for Concern Worldwide, the Irish charity of which he is chairman.


Introducing IAW&A Co-Director Charles Hale, Larry Kirwan attributed much of the success of the Salons to the welcoming atmosphere created by Charles whom, Larry recognized for being particularly good at encouraging first-time presenters.  Charles introduced and showed the original short film he created with Lucy Matthews Heegaard about the life and music of Judy Collins, “Walls: We Are Not Forgotten.” Watch the video.


The film, featuring the Judy Collins’s voiceover taken from Charles’s interview with the folksinging legend, takes us through Collins’s life from childhood to the present, focusing on her mother and father, her son, her music, and her work for peace.  The soundtrack on the film features the soaring song “Walls: We Are Not Forgotten” composed and sung by Collins with lyrics from a poem by her husband, Korean-War-Memorial designer, Louis Nelson.


“Everyone at their heart is in some ways Irish, I’m convinced,” Collins says in the film, “because there’s a piece of all of us that has this deeply wounded place that needs to be healed by music.  The Irish do that all the time.”


Before bringing Peter Seeger to the stage, Larry Kirwan told the story of how he first met the indomitable folksinger in the ’70s, when Seeger was beginning his campaign to clean up the polluted Hudson River.  Larry recalled playing some concerts near Seeger’s hometown, which did not always have the most receptive audiences.  As a young man newly arrived from Ireland, Larry marveled at Seeger’s determination to change things and his confidence that his effort would succeed.  Seeger’s career, Larry stated, reminds him of the words of Bobby Sands, “Everyone … has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no one is too old or too young to do something.”


Pete Seeger did not make a speech.

Pete Seeger

Instead, he strummed his banjo and softly sang, “Quite Early Morning,” about the power of song to inspire the next generation to sing and play and to fight for justice.   Seeger’s voice is not as strong as it once was, but his spirit certainly is, and he had a full house willing to join in with him.


“And so keep on while we live

Until we have no, no more to give

And when these fingers can strum no longer

Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger … ”


I don’t know of any “young ones stronger” who can take up Pete Seeger’s banjo when he finally grows too tired to play.  But, perhaps the song did inspire some younger artists listening, as T.J. English suggested the Eugene O’Neill Award has the power to do, and as Peter Seeger has done for decades.


“I know that you who hear my singing

Could make those freedom bells go ringing.”


Seeger exhorted us to keep the song going.  With considerable gusto, the 93-year-old urged us to sing it, “One more time!”


Growing up in Wexford, Ireland, Larry Kirwan said he wanted to play the guitar like Jimi Hendrix.  Then one day, he turned on Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE), the only channel available on his black-and-white TV at the time, and saw a man alone on stage playing a quiet acoustic guitar and singing.  The singer, Tom Paxton, revealed to Larry a new type of communication between artist and audience and Larry realized that music did not have to be “blasted out” to be effective.  After this story, Larry got the crowd to sing a few bars from Tom Paxton’s “The Last Thing on My Mind.”


Tom Paxton took to the stage with his guitar, and he did sing “The Last Thing on My Mind.”  However, he first sang a song about falling in love simultaneously with a woman and with Ireland.

Tom Paxton


Finishing the tune, he quipped, “Never let it be said that I don’t know how to pander to an audience.”


When Paxton did perform “The Last Thing on My Mind,” a song beautifully recorded by Judy Collins, the Manhattan Club crowd sang along with him.


Using a slang term, he picked up in Ireland and the U.K., Paxton paid Judy Collins the tribute of dubbing her a true “muso,” or a “lifer” dedicated to the creation and performing of music.


Next up was the man that Larry described as needing no introduction, IAW&A Co-Director, Malachy McCourt. In presenting Judy Collins with her Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, created and donated by Tiffany & Co., Malachy thanked Judy Collins for being a true friend and a treasure throughout the many years that he has known her.  He jokingly wished that she would become a Mormon so that she could welcome him as a second husband.

Judy Collins happily accepted the award and thanked and hugged Malachy and Larry.  She spoke of how happy she was to have her name associated with the great Eugene O’Neill and agreed with Pete Seeger’s assertion that whatever future we will have will be because of the arts.  Interspersing bits of a cappella singing, Collins told amusing tales about her career and about how she met her husband.


Emcee Larry Kirwan & Honoree Judy Collins

To wrap up the ceremony, Co-Director Ashley Davis gathered Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, and Judy Collins on stage to sing, “Will You Go Lassie, Go?”  The audience, of course, was very willing to help out.


Then it was back to the socializing at the open bar with generous hors d’œuvre that kept coming and coming.  Novelists, musicians, poets, actors, filmmakers, photographers, illustrators, and artists of all stripes made and renewed connections well past the party’s official closing time.  Here’s hoping that they also renewed their commitment to keep the music going, until their “fingers can strum no longer.”

Congratulations to Judy Collins on her Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award!  Judy Collins believes she is from a long line of storytellers and balladeers.  A line that’s still being drawn …

And a special thanks to all our patrons, advertisers, supporters, volunteers, presenters and to the great crew at Rosie’ O’Grady’s Manhattan Club for making this event such a success!

An Evening with the First Eugene O’Neill Award Winner William Kennedy…

Filed under: Events,Literature,Theater — by johnleemedia @ 12:34 am
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…Moderated by the first IAW&A president Peter Quinn
presented by the Irish Arts Center in association with Irish American Writers and Artists

Tuesday, October 30th | 7:30 pm

“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

Celebrate with us the paperback launch of Changó’s Beads and TwoTone Shoes. Kennedy will be joined in conversation by author Peter Quinn.

Changó’s Beads and TwoTone Shoes is a an unforgettably riotous story of revolution, romance, and redemption, set against the landscape of the civil rights movement as it challenges the legendary and vengeful Albany political machine. Journalist Daniel Quinn’s epic journey carries him through the nightclubs and jungles of Cuba and into the newsrooms and racially charged streets of Albany on the day Robert Kennedy is fatally shot in 1968. The odyssey brings Quinn, and his exotic but unpredictable Cuban wife, Renata, a debutante revolutionary, face-to-face with the darkest facets of human nature and illuminates the power of love in the presence of death.

Reserve your free admission HERE

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 or its Facebook page for updates and information.

photos of Judy Collins available at

(0) 917-475-6981, (c)  917-653-3444. ,

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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