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.


For more info, go to

Tickets can be purchased at:



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.  
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

May 18, 2012

The Latest from The Salon at The Cell

by Charles Hale

Todd Pate began the Irish American Writers & Artists’ Salon at The Cell reading an excerpt from his “non-fiction novel” in progress, Most of America, documenting a two-month Greyhound bus trip through the United States last year, and the people he met along the way.  (More excerpts will be published June 1st at The Straddler.)
Todd spoke of his Texas upbringing near the Mexican border and it was the perfect segue to a collaborative work produced by Larry Kirwan and me. Larry’s band, Black 47, recorded the tune “San Patricio Brigade,” which Larry wrote, and I created the short film using video clips of Black 47, old photos and art work. “San Patricio Brigade” is the story of Irish American immigrants who, upon arrival in America, joined the army, were sent to fight in the Mexican-American war, deserted, fought for the Mexicans and were eventually hanged.

John Kearns presented a scene from his play In The Wilderness which opens at the Bleecker Street Theatre on May 31st.  The cast included — Octavia Chavez-Richmond, Stephen Jangro, Marilyn Mineo, Edward Raube-Wilson, Hannah Timmons, Cristina Torres, and Nirayl Wilcox* (* Appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association. Equity approved showcase.) In the scene, set in a South Bronx high school, Paul Logan sends Carmen Marquez, the student-poetess for whom he has the highest hopes, to the guidance counselor’s office for skipping school.  The tables are turned on Paul as Irish guidance counselor, Kate Farrell, warns Paul against getting too emotionally involved with Carmen.  I’m looking forward to the play’s opening on May 31 at the Bleecker Street Theatre, 45 Bleecker Street. 

Guenevere Donohoe began her presentation by sharing the good news that she’s been cast as Queen Margaret in a production of Henry VI part III, which will open in NYC this summer. Great news for this very talented actress. Guen followed her announcement with a stirring performance from her play, Killer is My Name, a story about the mystery that was her father and growing up in the Bronx.

Kathleen Donohoe, recent winner of the Crossroads’ Irish-American writing contest, read an essay “The Wealth of the World” about her paternal grandparents, which was published in the April/May issue of Irish America magazine. Kathleen submitted the story over two years ago, thought it was passed over, and was pleased to learn  that the person in charge “Photo Album” feature of the magazine found it in a folder of old submissions, liked it and published it.

I was moved by the last paragraph in Kathleen’s article:

“When I look at this picture, so ordinary before you know, I think about how for each piece of a family story that you’ve heard, there is another and another still that will remain strong in a dry throat, a poem in a closed book. And I think as well of this Irish proverb:

A tune is more lasting than the song of birds,
And a word is more lasting than the wealth of the world.”

Jim Rodgers returned to read an excerpt from his Sunnyside novel, Long Night’s End. This time he chose an excerpt a bit lighter than the last. Reading from an early chapter in the novel, Johnny Gunn comes face to face on the elevated 7 train with the voluptuous Molly Farrell, a woman he has avoided since their steamy affair resulted in Johnny losing his faith, his soul, and a whole lot more. The mixture of fear and desire Johnny feels on the 7 train is only relieved by Molly’s departure at the Lexington Avenue stop. I suspect we have not seen the last of Molly Farrell.

Tom Mahon read a personal essay, “The Church & Its Flock,” which arose from the outrage he feels from familial betrayal and hypocrisy. Tom wrote of how he assumed that he knew his family, believing they cared for each other and would never do anything to hurt the other, but he learned he was badly mistaken.  He believes his heathen ancestors would be appalled at his family’s materialistic values and longs for the “Chieftian of their Pagan tribe” to put an end to the behavior since, as Tom writes, “The  destruction of a family is the destruction of the tribe.” Another fine story from a versatile and talented writer. 

David Coles read a passage from his unpublished book, In the Midnight Choir, following the conversation between a bartender and 3 of the bar’s regulars as they wend through the hours of an empty Sunday night, the haggard aftermath of a long hard weekend in Greenwich Village in the 1970’s. Superb writing and a book that I’m sure will land a publisher very quickly. 

Stephanie Silber closed out the evening with a wonderful reading from her novel The Dark Side of Time, a psychological thriller with elements of horror and the supernatural.  The novel’s protagonists have relocated from Brooklyn with their toddler daughter to a fixer-upper cottage in the suburbs with a dark past.  Dreams, visions and things that go bump in the night ensue immediately, and the sinister triad of recently arrived lay residents in the vacant convent next door ratchet up the dread.

The novel’s themes include an examination of our troubled times and who and what we worship, as well as what parts of ourselves we’d sell out to get what we think we need.

The IAW&A salons take place on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at the Thalia Cafe, located at 95th and Broadway and The Cell theatre located at 338 W. 23rd Street, respectively. For more information on the salons or joining the Irish American Artists and Writers contact me, Charles R. Hale at

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

April 24, 2012

Fallen Angel Theatre Company’s 2012 Reading Series is premiering “Airswimming”

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For those of who you attended last week’s Salon at The Cell you had the opportunity to hear Aedin Moloney’s brilliant reading of “Molly’s Soliloquy” from James Joyce’sUlysses. Next week, for those of you who missed Aedin, and for those who would like to see and hear her perform, there is another opportunity, and like the Salon, this event is free.
On April 30th, at 7PM, the Fallen Angel Theatre Company’s 2012 Reading Series is premiering Charlotte Jones’ Airswimming at The Irish Repertory Theatre. The play is directed by John Keating and features Aedin and Rachel Pickup, who both recently starred in The Irish Rep’s highly acclaimed production of Dancing at Lughnasa.
For more info and to reserve a seat, here’s the link.

January 17, 2012


Tonight the Irish American Writers & Artists Salon sets up again at The Cell, 338 West 23rd Street in NYC.  The evening begins at 7:00.

IAW&A members can present, but all are welcome to attend.  So, if you’re not a member and you are interested in becoming one, please see Salon host Charles Hale at the Salon or join online  at

The Salons work best when folks keep their presentations within the ten minute limit. If you plan on reading, please read your work aloud at least once so that you know how long it takes.  Many find they can read about 1,400 words comfortably in ten minutes.

There will be wine, but donations are appreciated to cover the cost!

See you there!


October 7, 2011

Gabriel Byrne to Present Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award

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Noted O’Neill actor will present award to Irish Repertory Theatre’s Ciarán O’Reilly & Charlotte Moore

in an Evening of “Literary Libation” hosted by Malachy McCourt

Gabriel Byrne will present the IAW&A annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award to Irish Rep founders Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly, in an evening of “literary libation,” Monday. Oct. 17, 2011 at the Manhattan Club, upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s, 800 7th Avenue and 52nd St., NYC starting at 6 p.m.

Opening its doors in 1988 with Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, The “Irish Rep” has consistently pursued its mission to bring works of the highest quality by Irish and Irish American masters and contemporary playwrights to American audiences.

Gabriel Byrne has a long association with Eugene O’Neill having won a Tony nomination for best actor in Moon For the Misbegotten and an Outer Circle Critics Award for his acclaimed performance in A Touch of the Poet.

Best selling author, actor, singer, raconteur and IAW&A Board member, Malachy McCourt will host a brief program that will include a short video send-up of the Irish Rep and its founders, narrated by Fritz Weaver.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn will open the proceedings with the presentation of an official proclamation in honor of the Irish Repertory, its founders, and the Eugene O’Neill Award.

The celebration surrounding the O’Neill Award has a convivial, casual cocktail party atmosphere, with much conversation and mingling with guests both famous and infamous, live traditional Irish music, an extensive array of appetizers and desserts, and an open bar. The evening begins at 6 p.m and continues until 10 p.m.

Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended by ordering online at:

Gabriel Byrne to present O'Neill Award

or by mail to:

Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc.,

511 Avenue of the Americas #304,

New York, NY 10011.

($75 admission for members, $150 for non-members includes membership).

Founded and operated as a non-profit organization, Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc. celebrates the achievements of Irish- American writers and artists, past and present, and works to highlight, energize and encourage Irish Americans working in the arts.  For more information about Irish American Writers and Artists, Inc, and to purchase tickets, please go to


For media inquiries and photo requests, please contact:

John Lee     917-475-6981

July 14, 2011

Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Irish Repertory Theatre

Filed under: Events,Literature,Theater,Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 4:12 pm
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Irish American Writers & Artists to present O’Neill Award to Irish Rep founders at annual event on Oct. 17

The Irish Repertory Theatre has been named the 2011 recipient of the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, given annually by the Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc. (IAW&A). Irish Rep founders Charlotte Moore, who is also the company’s artistic director, and Ciarán O’Reilly, producing director, will accept the award at a festive celebration on the evening of Monday. Oct. 17 at the Manhattan Club, just north of the Times Square location where O’Neill was born and one day after the 123rd anniversary of his birth.
Opening its doors in 1988 with Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, The Irish Rep has consistently pursued its mission to bring works by Irish and Irish American masters and contemporary playwrights to American audiences, to provide a context for understanding the contemporary Irish-American experience, and to encourage the development of new works focusing on the Irish and Irish-American experience.
IAW&A board member T.J. English said, “Irish American Writers and Artists is proud to present its 2011 Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award to Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly, the founders of the Irish Repertory Theatre. Together, starting with little more than a shared dream and indefatigable determination, they’ve made the Rep into one of the theatrical community’s most creatively vibrant and artistically significant venues. Along with their brilliant staging of O’Neill’s plays, Charlotte and Ciarán have presented season after season of critically acclaimed productions. With the Rep, they’ve done for Irish theater in New York what Yeats and Lady Gregory did for Dublin with the Abbey. Their contributions to the arts in general and Irish-American culture in particular are immeasurable. They’ve richly earned this award.”

Moore and O’Reilly wrote, “It is an honor pure and simple to be recognized for our work, but to receive an award with Eugene O’Neill in the title is deeply meaningful.” They quoted O’Neill himself to summarize the vision that drives and sustains the Irish Rep: “’The people who succeed and do not push on to a greater failure are the spiritual middle-classers. The man who sets out for the mere attainable should be sentenced to get it–and keep it. Only through the unattainable does man achieve a hope worth living and dying for–and so attain himself.’ In that spirit or perpetual striving, they concluded, “we treasure this award both for the honor it brings and the inspiration it provides.”

On behalf of the board of the Irish Rep, chairperson Ellen McCourt spoke of the “generous, innovative, creative, and oh let’s just say it, brilliant” work that Charlotte and Ciaran have done in bringing the Irish Rep to where it is today. “The Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award,” McCourt said, “is an especially appropriate honor. From the moment they opened their doors with Sean O’Casey’s ‘The Plough and the Stars,’ in 1988, the theatrical community has been continually enriched by a remarkable series of Irish and Irish-American productions. Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal puts it simply when he describes The Irish Repertory Theatre as ‘One of the finest theatre companies in America.’ Ciaran and Charlotte are true heroes as well as great artists. I can’t imagine two worthier recipients of the O’Neill Award.”

In addition to the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, the Irish Rep has been honored with the 2007 Jujamcyn Award, a special Drama Desk Award for “Excellence in Presenting Distinguished Irish drama,” and the Lucille Lortel Award for “Outstanding Body of Work.”

The IAW&A annually bestows the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award on an Irish American writer or artist who has created a body of work that places them among the great artists and entertainers of all time. Playwright Eugene O’Neill embodied the highest level of artistic achievement. With his unparalleled body of work in the theater, he not only won many prestigious awards (including four Pulitzers and a Nobel Prize for Literature), he maintained a level of artistic integrity that set the bar for all to come.

Actor Brian Dennehy was honored with the 2010 O’Neill Award. Novelist William Kennedy accepted the inaugural O’Neill Award in 2009.

O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Cocktail Reception, will begin at 6.00 pm on Monday, October 17, 2011 at the Manhattan Club, upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s, 800 7th Avenue at the corner of 52nd St., near Times Square. .

Founded and operated as a non-profit organization, Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc. celebrates the achievements of Irish- American writers and artists, past and present, and works to highlight, energize and encourage Irish Americans working in the arts. IAW&A supports free speech, the rights of immigrants, the equality and dignity of all, and the process of peaceful, positive social change in the U.S., Ireland and around the world.

Founding board members of Irish American Writers and Artists Inc, include writers Peter Quinn, TJ English, Pete Hamill, Malachy McCourt, Mary Pat Kelly, Michael Patrick MacDonald and Celtic singer/songwriter Ashley Davis.

For more information about Irish American Writers and Artists, Inc, go to where on-line ticket sales will begin soon.

For media queries and photo requests, please contact:
John Lee 917-475-6981

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