Too Much Fun at the IAW&A Salon


How It’s New York:  The writers run the gamut from playwright, journalist,  essayist, novelist, American-born, Irish-born, in a happy mix of folks.
How It’s Irish:  The group is the Irish American Writers & Artists.  Themes included Obama’s famous pint, nuns and priests as educators, and family.

Last Tuesday, Books Editor Michelle Woods and I attended the Irish American Writers & Artists salon at the Thalia Café at Symphony Space.  We had way too much fun– so much, in fact, that there were, shall we say, some sour stomachs the night after.  That last cocktail at the Campbell Apartment at Grand Central Station– that was one too many.

We’re excited about this group as you can tell by our earlier post about them!  We met some wonderful writers with  published books that we’ll review (Kevin Holohan) and works in progress that we look forward to hearing/reading when they’re done (Honor Molloy)Peter Quinn was there but did not read, as was Peter McDermott, but Sheila Walsh had of the writers (Honor and Kathy Callahan, who read her own hilarious piece, Don’t Get Whitey) act in her one-act play (first she asked me was I an actress?  I guess it was the tube top).  John Lee read from his cellphone, and other readers included John Kearns, Kevin McPartland, and Charles Hale.  You don’t have to read to go; you can be audience.  That’s what I was!  And see above about too much fun.

Michelle  read from her unpublished novel Ire.  There was almost a theme as three authors read books with reminiscences of the strange injustices and comedy of education in Ireland.  In Michelle’s book, three off-beat nuns enact the Orestaia and the really scary furies for a class of bewildered children, until a priest raps on the door.  Her book (I know I’m embarrassing you, Michelle) is squarely in the tradition of Flann O’Brien exuberance and comedy! I’m so jealous of her way with a description that most of my notes for her consist of “brilliant” and “how does she do that?”  Michelle was immediately seized upon by Kevin and Honor, who are now her Best Friends Forever, as the photo below shows!
The next Salon will be September 5th!

Charles Hale’s writeup from his blog storiesconnectloveheals is below, but if you go TO his site you’ll also hear his song of the week, which is “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen– and find out why.

Charles’ Write-Up (with my photos!):

So, which of the Irish American Writers & Artists’ members had a torrid affair with Leonard Cohen? Oh, you weren’t at the IAW&A’s Salon Tuesday evening? Then I guess you’ll just have to come to the next one on Tuesday, September 5th to learn who that person is. 
Another fun evening of readings, friendship and good times. John Kearns, Kevin McPartland and Michelle Woods read from their novels in progress. John read form “Worlds,” Kevin from “Brownstone Dreams,” and Michelle from “Ire.”
Honor Molloy read from her novel in progress—although in my eyes when Honor reads it’s better described as “More than just a novel; a one woman show.” Honor brings her acting skills, enthusiasm, and warmth to everything she does. 
Honor, as well as Kathy Callahan, joined Sheila Walsh in a hilarious reading from Sheila’s one act play-in-progress, “Tattoo.” Sheila brought tea and oranges all the way from China, too. 
I closed out the first half of the program with a personal essay entitled, “The Death of Baby Florence: Resolution.” 

The second half of the evening began with John Lee reading from his Huffington Post blog post, “Obama in Ireland Gets Pint’s Worth of Coverage in U.S.” This is the first time I’d ever seen someone do a “reading” from a cell phone. Not only can the man write some witty prose, he’s facile with a phone as well. 
Kevin Holohan stepped up next and read from his novel, “The Brothers’ Lot”  I can imagine attending an Irish Christian Brother’s School might be fodder for a provocative novel; however, I never would have guessed it could be humorous as well, but Kevin’s pulled it off. 
Nothing like wit and humor to close out the evening and that’s exactly what we got from Kathy Callahan’s personal essay, “Don’t Get Whitey” a laugh-out-loud reading from a personal memoir in progress.   
The Irish American Writers & Artists’Irish American Writers and Artists’ salons are held on the first Tuesday of each month at The Thalia Café located in Symphony Space on Broadway at 95th Street in Manhattan. For more information on joining the IAW&A or attending the Salons you can contact Charles Hale.  The next Salon will be held September 5th.

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.