How It’s New York:  Irish American Writers and Artists is a New York organization, and many of New York’s most lauded artists will be around.  Previous recipients include actor Brian Dennehy, Tony-Award winner and Oscar nominee, and William Kennedy, author of nine novels including a Pulitzer Prize Winner who received the first award granted in 2009.    Gabriel Byrne will present the award Monday night.
How It’s Irish:  You know how it says “cocktails with giants?”  To President/Author Peter Quinn (;The Banished Children of EveA Novel of Civil War New York; The Hour of the Cat)
all the artists are giants.  There’s no V.I.P. room, no private party; you’re not stuck at a table; it’s mingle and schmooze (well, he didn’t say schmooze, but it’s NY, we’re all Jirish).  The night will be “down and dirty,” he says.  “Everybody’s a V.I.P.”

  There’s even a Starving Artist Discount: 

 If you are a working artist (writer, musician, actor, filmmaker, etc.) and would like to attend our annual fundraising event but are unable to pay the full fee, you may be eligible for our Starving Artist Discount – funded by a generous donor. Please contact: for more information.

The 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.

Peter Quinn described the evening as a chance for “people to mingle and talk and find out about one another.”  

It’s a lifetime achievement award for a body of work, so “young people don’t get it.  What Charlotte and Ciaran did out of nothing, they created probably the most prestigious company in New York.”
It’s true it’s a fave of many critics.  I first met Wall Street Journal’s Terry Teachout at Irish Repertory Theatre.  You can’t miss his booming laugh, and he was right behind me, and I know the chat of a critic.  We first bonded over our mutual love of the company (though why it is at Irish Rep there’s always someone unwrapping a candy for the first five minutes of any show I have not yet determined).  Peter Quinn pointed out that this is the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, and Irish Rep has in particular produced amazing productions by O’Neill.  “They not only produced Emperor Jones, but got rave reviews everwhere,” he said of the play O’Neill himself thought might not be presentable (here’s my essay from the L Magazine).

The goal of the event is to “honor the winners, and have fun.  We’re all in our little silos, but this is a place where people an talk about their work, connect with one another, find out what they’re doing.  We’ve had a novelist, actor, now directors.  The group includes painters, poets, actors, singers, dancers.  Isolation for creative people is the hardest thing–this is a way to reaffirm to one another we’re not crazy!”  For more of that, check out the monthly salons at the Thalia Café at Symphony Space, first Tuesday of the month (they’re on the scrolling calendar)!

This year’s recipients…

The Irish Repertory Theatre has been named the 2011 recipient of the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, given annually by 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 Abby. Their contributions to the arts in general and Irish-American culture in particular are immeasurable. They’ve richly earned this award.”
De Bogman poster 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 Ciarán 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.”
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.
IAWA Flag and Harp

Our Purpose

IAW&A is a non-profit organization dedicated to the celebration of Irish American writers, actors, musicians, filmmakers and artists both past and present. We are an INDEPENDENT and PROGRESSIVE collective dedicated to the principle that by promoting and appreciating creative expression, we can enhance the human condition. Our goal is to highlight the RICH TRADITION of Irish Americans in all manner of artistic endeavor in the United States, from the 19th Century to the present day.

Our Goals

IAW&A has established itself as a focal point for artists who would like to use their work to affect matters of culture, entertainment, politics and social justice. We stage events, sponsor readings, concerts and art exhibits, and hope to call attention to books, plays, movies, music and other works that reflect the STARTLING DIVERSITY of the Irish American experience.

Gwen Orel
About the Author

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

One Comment

  1. Avatar
    Charles Hale / October 17, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Looking forward to this event. Gwen. See you there.
    Charles Hale

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