Irish American Writers & Artists

March 27, 2013

An Evening in Celebration of WILLIAM KENNEDY

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

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


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.” 


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

or call 866.811.4111  

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


September 20, 2012

Rave Reviews for Latest IAW&A Salon

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature,Theater — by johnleemedia @ 11:56 am
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Why attend an Irish American Writers and Artists Salon? Here’s a quote from one of Tuesday night’s readers, Jim Rodgers: “I’ve come to realize that the Salon would have gone the way of similar efforts in many fields–great ideas that founder at the toddler stage—if not for dedication of a great bunch of folks. Yesterday was a tough day at work and I almost backed out of attending. I’m glad I didn’t. The presenters help put me back on track and enriched my day.”  And you did as well, Jim. Thank you from all of us.
Michele Cetera presented the first installment of the short story, “Pieces Of Me.”  Michele cleverly sets up the scene giving us details that draw us into the story as we meet the character Macy Grant, and all the negative happenings that are wreaking havoc in her life.  This was a fast paced,  funny reading as Michele transformed herself into Macy Grant ranting about everything that has gone wrong in her life, but ready to accept change, move forward and never give up hope. Do I see the makings of a one woman show in the “Maria Tomesi, My Cousin Vinny” mold? I hope so.  
Tara O’Grady
Singer/songwriter Tara O’Grady returned from an extended tour of England and Ireland with a new song called, “In Belfast Tonight.” Tara composed the lyrics and melody on the plane ride home to New York last week after a memorable night in Belfast with a group of artists and musicians she met during a traditional Irish music session. One artist happened to be named after the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, and a few of the famous poet’s most recognized lines sneak their way into Tara’s lovely song. “Do not go gentle into that good night…rage, rage, against the dying of the light.” Tara announced that the new song will most likely make its way onto her third album, A Celt in the Cotton Club, to be released in 2013.
The IAW&A’s resident sleepwalker, Kathleen Frazier, read from her book proposal for Somniloquies: A Memoir of Sleepwalking. Her story is both harrowing and powerfully told  but, she reports, she is now a completely recovered somnambulist.  Kathleen is an outstanding reader and you can hear her read from the memoir on Tuesday, October 2nd at 6:00 pm at The Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village. For more information, see the notice in the “What’s Happening” section on the IAW&A website
Pat Fenton is a playwright with a vivid memory and great ear for a Brooklyn era long since past, and as such, Pat attempted to bring to life Nick Scarpa, a loan shark who hung out in an old neighborhood bar, the Hill Top Lounge, on a typical 1950’s Windsor Terrace Saturday night. Judging from some of the comments I heard during the intermission, no doubt, Pat succeeded.
Owen and Moley O’Suilleabhain
Moley and Owen O’Suilleabhain are beginning to incorporate a deeper narrative into their performance as they attempt to bridge their musical act into other disciplines and performance opportunities.  The brothers sang one of their own compositions called ‘Irish Hearts Are Hard To Break’ and the traditional song ‘Suil a ruin’. The brothers spoke of the tradition of maccaronic song and of grieving and letting go. Owen & Moley later commented that they appreciate the salon as a workshop to try out new songs and link them with common themes and stories on a formal speaking plane. We’re honored to have them.
Mary Lannon followed with a wonderful reading from her novel-in-progress An 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 tells the story of a girl science geek who believes that at the age of fourteen, after fighting with her father , she got sucked through a faulty air-conditioner in a dilapidated brown station wagon and landed in a parallel universe.  The conceit is that she deals with the normal ups and downs of adolescent through her unique scientific perspective.  An imaginative and creative presentation.
Guenevere Donohue treated us all to a full-on performance of her chamber play, Moses’ Goggles.  Her deceptively simple and powerful writing style, combined with clever stage image, packed unexpected modern connections into a gem-cut piece honoring her Grandpa Moses’ emigration story and work on the Hoover Dam.
Emcee Charles Hale
Jim Rodgers closed the evening reading from his novel Long Night’s End.  In a gripping and haunting excerpt, the protagonist Johnny Gunn discovers that his friend Jimmy has been re-visiting ground zero late at night and reliving the horror of the “sunny day,” the day he lost his father and brother and most of his battalion.  Johnny guides his now catatonic friend back to the subway and back to Sunnyside, delivering him to his wife in the early hours of the morning.  It is then that Johnny realizes Jimmy’s days as a fireman are over–a final loss he knows Jimmy will not likely survive. 
The next salon will be held on October 9th at the Thalia Cafe at Symphony Space at Broadway and 95th St.  For more information on joining the Irish American Writers & Artists or attending the salons, contact Charles R. Hale atchashale1@ya

September 4, 2012

Kathleen Frazier to read from her memoir on sleepwalking

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature — by johnleemedia @ 4:09 pm
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Reads from her current project…


A Memoir of Sleepwalking
at The Cornelia Street Café

29 Cornelia St. (west of 6th Ave., bet. W. 4th and Bleecker)
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
$8 cash cover, includes a free drink
Reservations suggested (212) 989-9319

Somniloquies: a memoir of sleepwalking is a coming of age story in which Kathleen seeks to untangle her twenty years of chronic somnambulism: the origins at adolescence when her brother first attempted suicide (a sort of nighttime mirroring of his waking pain), her own near-death experiences while sleepwalking, and failed efforts to abate her malady with booze. It is a love story to her Irish American family of the 1960s – ‘70s, a longing to balm their wounds from generations of alcoholism, mental illness and fretful nights.  Ultimately, it is a story of recovery, romance and redemption.  In 1990, at the age of thirty, Kathleen met her husband days after the terrible sleepwalking accident that brought her to her knees.  One night at a time, Mark showed her the link between comfort, trust and peaceful slumber.

Read Kathleen’s essay, “Creature of the Night”, published earlier this year in Psychology Today:



July 27, 2012

Sounds of The Salon at the Cell

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Music was featured during Tuesday night’s Salon at The Cell. Brothers Moley and Owen Suillebhain offered a blend of ancient Irish sacred songs with modern pop tunes and mesmerized the audience with a brilliant musical performance. Particularly moving was a Gregorian Latin Chant, “Caminus Ardebat.” Liam O’Connell, the first rap artist to appear at a salon, inspired the audience with his 
pulsating sounds and rhythms and the opening of Charles Hale’s video, Fathers, Sons and Baseball, was set to the American baseball classic, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Singer, songwriter Tara O’Grady opened the show reading from her unpublished memoir Transatlantic Butterflies & the November Moon, a story that takes the reader on a journey across America, where Tara replicated her Waterford Granny’s 1957 road trip in a Chevy Bel Air, searching for the spirit of the immigrant grandmother she never met, as well as the spirit of America during a time of economic uncertainty. She convinced Chevrolet to pay for her symbolic migration. The iconic car company was inspired by her quest to chase not only her Granny’s spirit, but also the spirit of America to find out if the American dream still exists.
Bestselling author, Jeanine Cummins read from her latest book, The Outside Boy, and it was as “gloriously poetic’ as Malachy McCourt claimed. Jeanine promised to come back soon and read from her latest novel, which she is putting the finishing touches on with an eye toward publication in March. Actor Jack O’Connell did double duty, reading witticisms from the twentieth century sports writer, Jimmy Cannon, and reading from playwright Janet Noble’s work in progress.  Janet described her work as a “ghost play” based on the life and death of her brother. And past contributor and wonderful writer, Brendan Connellan, dipped into his novel-in-progress Mr Big Shot and regaled and entertained us with a bizarre tale of a deer being shot, a daughter being hidden and a man wondering how to best remove a carcass from the middle of his flower bed, especially one riddled with bullets.
First time presenter Kathleen Walker read her poem “Forever Family Secrets,” which was just accepted for publication in the New York Irish History Roundtable Journal. Her poem speaks of her journey to find her culture, which began in high school when her English teacher asked her what “Parish” she belonged to. She had no idea. Due to extreme feelings of loss during her early life, she came to realize that she had to put the pieces of her existence together. “Forever Family Secrets” is part of her journey.
Caroline Winterson, actor extraordinaire, joined Honor Molloy in reading “Three Bits From Three Plays.” Caroline and Honor read brief scenes from Maiden Voyages (written by Bronagh Murphy and Honor Molloy), Crackskull Row and Kick. The Cell was a fantastic place to display these snippets as the two wonderful actresses flung their voices to the ceiling, the backwalls and beyond.</d

Billy Barrett followed Hale’s baseball video, a remembrance of pleasant times spent with his father that centered on their love of baseball. Keeping with the baseball theme, Billy was the evening’s “closer.”  “Given the tremendous succession of pure talent that graced the cathedral, closing the show was not an easy task,” Billy said. Billy’s book, Highway Star reeks of the kind of scathing comical gas that makes all great closers…great. With a few selections from the “Punch Line” chapter, he walked to the mound, threw nothing but strikes and calmly retired the side….
It was a great evening and as Owen O’Suillebhain noted, “The Irish American Writers Salon is a hotbed of talent.  A very receptive and generous listening fills the space.”
Well said.
The next salon will be at the Thalia Café on August 7th. For more information on the salons or joining the Irish American Writers and Artists contact Charles R. hale at

May 12, 2012

Invitation to “Smarty Girl” Audio Book Launch with Music, Song and Storytelling

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature,Music,Theater,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 2:18 pm
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Smarty Girl: Dublin Savage

An Audio Book Launch with Music, Song and Storytelling

in association with Irish American Writers and Artists

Tuesday, May 15 | 7:30 pm

A magical evening of music and story that conjures a vanished Dublin.

“Honor Molloy makes a most memorable debut with this fiercely funny portrait of the artist as a young girl…Noleen O’Feeney is irreverent, sarcastic, resilient, engaging, entertaining, and wise beyond her years. I didn’t want the book to end. ”
-Peter Quinn, Banished Children of Eve and Looking for Jimmy

Author Honor Molloy joins forces with actor Aedin Moloney (Dancing at Lughansa), author Kevin Holohan and Grammy Award-winner Susan McKeown to celebrate the publication of Smarty Girl: Dublin Savage. Molloy’s autobiographical novel is a tender, irresistible and raucous portrait of 1960s Dublin, as seen through the eyes of a precocious little girl with a fierce imagination. Smarty Girl: Dublin Savage will come alive with readings by Moloney, Holohan and Molloy, and music sung by McKeown.

Honor Molloy holds an MFA from Brown University and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. Born in Dublin, Honor Molloy lives in Brook

“as much as I love the book, Smarty Girl lives in the ear…this is an ensemble piece and Susan’s music is essential…”
– Honor Molloy

Admission: FREE

Reserve through or 866-811-4111

May 7, 2012

Aedin Moloney in a Conversation Among Queens–free event at IAC, May 9

This Wednesday night, May 9, IAW&A member, Aedin Moloney, will be performing in the Fallen Angel Theatre Company’s reading of “The Conversation,” at the Irish Arts Center. Admission is free. 
The Conversation by Dennis Michael Corcoran

In 1593 Gráinne Ní Mháille (Granuaile / Grace O’Malley), the Irish pirate queen made the journey to London to meet Queen Elizabeth I, played by Aedin.
While this meeting and its outcome are historical facts, there is no record of what transpired between these two powerful women.
This is the story of their conversation.

Directed by Paula D’Alessandris
Featuring Daniel Damiano, Ruth Kavanagh and Aedín Moloney
The Irish Arts Center
553 West 51st Street
(btwn 10th & 11th Aves)
New York, NY 10019
Wednesday, 9th May 2012 at 7pm

Reservations required:
Please Email: or
Call: (201) 590-9357

March 28, 2012

Kevin Holohan reads at Watchung, Thursday, March 29th 7pm

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature — by johnleemedia @ 6:20 pm
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Dublin native reads from The Brother’s Lot
The mix of dire experiences that goes into the education dished out at the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means adds up to a mordantly funny debut from Dublin native Holohan. Young Finbar Sullivan, newly arrived from Cork, finds himself at the mercy of priestly pedagogues, from the scheming Brother Loughlin to the sadistic Brother Kennedy, while trying to fit in among his cynical and abused classmates.
The blighted prospects of post-WWII Dublin get a lightly satirical treatment, as with the teacher who sees a chance to dispense punishment as “the best excuse for vindictiveness that had come his way,” or the adviser who lists “junior clerical assistant in the Department of Fisheries” as the brightest of grim career options, but Holohan’s touch gets angrier as institutional decay transforms to rot, absurdity becomes bitterness, and depictions of characters and the school itself get etched with an increasingly brutal touch. The collapse of both the Order of the Brothers of Godly Coercion and the seat of tainted education they foist on their lower-middle-class pupils are fitting revenge, and the little hope Holohan holds out lends an acid edge to this cutting depiction of a system collapsing under the weight of its own corruption.
Kevin was born in Dublin and after a primary and secondary school education at Christian Brothers school attended University College Dublin where he studied Pure English, the system’s third most unemployable degree. After graduating he spent six years teaching English as a Foreign Languish in Castilla La Mancha, Spain where he learned to love Flamenco and his proudest achievement was to eventually read Don Quixote in the original. He moved to New York in 1996 where he now lives with his wife and five-year-old son. The Brothers’ Lot is his first novel.

The Brothers’ Lot (Paperback)


ISBN-13: 9781936070916
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Akashic Books, 4/2011

February 9, 2012

The Man Whose Prayers “Bored the Brains out of God” & More at IAW&A Salon

by Charles Hale

Singer songwriter Susan McKeown wasn’t at the Thalia Cafe Tuesday night but Honor Molloy announced that Susan can be heard on the audio version of her soon to released book Smarty Girl-Dublin Savage.  Honor  read a passage from her book titled “Glass in Heaven,” a story that centers on the O’Feeny family’s beloved uncle coming home from London, sharing a story, scaltheen (whiskey and hot butter) and song around the fire. In addition to Susan’s music and Honor’s voice, actress Aedin Moloney and novelist Kevin Holohan can be heard on the audio book. 

The laughter never stopped once Tom Phelan began reading an excerpt from his novel Nailer, a thriller that takes place in Laois and Offaly, Ireland.  In his reading, Tom presented the aged Doctor Alexander McNulty, whose prayers “bored the brains out of God.”

Sheila Walsh’s play in progress, Mr.  Tweedy’s Neighbors, was read with the help of Kate Vaughn, Orla O’Sullivan and John Kearns. Mr. Tweedy’s Neighbors is a play a about spiritual resurrection the Irish-American way.

Their were two poets on hand. Ed Farrell read a number of poems on aging and first-time presenter Maureen Walsh read a sequence of poems inspired by the experiences of Irish-American women and their foremothers. Maureen concluded her reading with a poem celebrating all women who write.  Her poem of  Catholic girls’ first love–the local parish priest–was my favorite.  Nothing like a tale of forbidden longing to spice things up. 

Maura Kelly introduced what she hopes will be an annual initiative. Designed to be a “new way” to experience Ireland’s greatest holiday, “SOBER St. Patrick’s Day” will be an opportunity for people in recovery, their friends and family, to participate in authentic culture.  Created in response to the damaging effects of public drunkeness on March 17 and the negative perception of the Irish, SSPD will be a family friendly event for ALL who want an alternative way to celebrate. The goal is to reclaim the true spirit of the holiday through the very best in contemporary Irish music, dance and comedy.  The venue is Regis High School on 84th and Park Avenue and will run from 3PM to 7PM.  The website will be up next week. Stay tuned. 

Tom Mahon began the second half of the evening with a riotous tale, “What Made the Elephants Happy,” which was written in direct response to an appeal made by Mikelle Terson at last month’s Thalia Salon.  Mikelle introduced a writing contest , which costs five dollars to enter, with all of the proceeds going toward saving elephants from extinction.  As Tom explained, he started the story in response to Mikelle’s discussion of elephants and in the old Irish tradition of spinning tales “just kept going.” Very witty. 

Kevin McPartland read from his novel in progress, Brooklyn Rhapsody. Kevin began by sharing with the audience that he’d recently started on the novel and until the day before Tuesday’s Salon was undecided whether the novel should be written in the first or third person.  And then, as often happens with artists, the muse appeared–“First person, Kevin”–and that was it.  If Tuesday night is an indication of what’s to come, Kevin, or his muse, definitely made the right choice. Terrific and very “Brooklyn.”

We were honored to have with us Kathleen Donohoe, the winner of this year’s Irish American Crossover Writing Contest, who read “The Bearing Wall,” an excerpt from a chapter of her novel, You Were Forever.  This particular passage concerns a fire widow, whose husband, a fireman with the New York Fire Department, has been killed in the line of duty. 

Playwright, poet and novelist, John Kearns read a segment from his first novel, The World, in which the sixteen-year-old main character, known as “The Artist,” realizes while watching a Fourth of July fireworks display that he is falling in love. 

And, as is often the case, we were blessed to have Malachy McCourt say and sing the final words, which he did leading the gathering through a beautiful rendition of “Will You Go Lassie Go.” This is becoming a wonderful tradition and one that all presenters look forward to. How often have I heard, “Will Malachy be here tonight?” We can only hope he will be at every Salon for years to come. 

The next Salon will be on February 21 at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd Street, beginning at 7PM. For more information on joining the Irish American Writers & Artists you can contact Charles Hale at

February 2, 2012

IAW&A in NJ! Authors Kathleen Hill and Mary Pat Kelly head to Montclair

Filed under: Essay,Events,Film,Literature — by johnleemedia @ 7:03 pm
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Reading, Discussion, Wine and Cheese at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, NJ, co-sponsored by Irish American Writers and Artists

The Irish American Writers & Artists takes the show on the road with a reading and reception at the Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, NJ on Thurs., Feb 16, 2012 featuring two noted authors.

Writer Mary Pat Kelly’s award-winning PBS documentaries and accompanying books include her historical novel Galway Bay, now in development as a TV mini series, To Live for Ireland, a portrait of Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume and the political party he led; Home Away from Home: The Yanks in Ireland, a history of U.S. forces in Northern Ireland during World War II; and Proudly We Served: The Men of the USS Mason, a portrayal of the only African-American sailors to take a World War II warship into combat, whose first foreign port was Belfast. She wrote and directed the dramatic feature film Proud, starring Ossie Davis and Stephen Rea, based on the USS Mason story. She’s written Martin Scorsese: The First Decade and Martin Scorsese: A Journey; Good to Go: The Rescue of Scott O’Grady from Bosnia; and a novel, Special Intentions. She is a frequent contributor to Irish America Magazine.

Kathleen Hill teaches in the M.F.A. program at Sarah Lawrence College. Her first novel Still Waters in Niger was named a notable book by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and was nominated for the Dublin IMPAC Award. The French translation, Eaux Tranquilles, was short-listed for the Prix Femina Étranger. Her second novel Who Occupies This House was recently published and was selected as an Editors’ Choice by the New York Times. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize XXV, and The Pushcart Book of Short Stories.

Watchung Booksellers is at 54 Fairfield Street, Watchung Plaza, Montclair, NJ 07042 (phone: 973.744.7177). The event starts at 7 PM.


January 22, 2012

Kudos to Kathleen! IAW&A Member Wins Irish-American Writing Contest

Filed under: Events,Literature — by johnleemedia @ 7:41 pm
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Kathleen Donohoe, an Irish American Writers and Artists’ member and frequent Salon contributor, learned today that she has won first prize in the prestigious Crossroads Irish-American Writing Contest. In addition to a cash prize, Kathleen has been invited to read her story at the Crossroads’ Festival in San Francisco in March. 

“I’m very excited about the award,” Kathleen said. “Actually, it’s the first piece I ever read at an IAW&A Salon.  I first learned of the contest when it was announced at one of the Salons and later when the IAW&A posted a link on its website.  I never, ever, would have heard about it otherwise.”

The story is a chapter from Kathleen’s novel in progress and is titled You Were Forever.  The story takes place in Brooklyn, NY in October 2001. Kathleen tells the tale of one of the first women firefighers in the history of the FDNY attending the funeral of the first male firefighter who befriended her on the job.

Kathleen regrets that she will be in San Francisco on St. Patricks day but said, “I’ve been thinking about a Brooklyn pub crawl…maybe we can get a group from the IAWA to do the Brooklyn St. Pat’s Day Parade.”  Yes, a resourceful woman and a wonderful writer. 
Congratulations, Kathleen.  Well deserved. 

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