New York City Council Proclamation Honors Eugene O’Neill,
Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc., and O’Neill Award honoree William Kennedy

October 16 Named Eugene O’Neill Day in NYC

Speaker Christine Quinn on behalf of the Council of the City of New York is scheduled to attend the Irish American Writers & Artists’ (IAW&A) Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award on the evening of Oct. 16, to read a Proclamation declaring “the 16th day of October in the year Two Thousand and Nine to be Eugene O’Neill Day in the City of New York.”

O’Neill was born on Oct. 16, 1888 in a hotel in New York’s Times Square just a few blocks from The Manhattan Club on 7th Avenue and 52nd Street, where the IAW&A’s O’Neill Award Celebration is being held, on what would have been O’Neill’s 121st birthday.

The Proclamation, noting O’Neill’s Nobel, Pulitzer, Tony and Drama Circle awards, says of him: “His lifetime of achievement as a playwright and dramatist illuminated the human condition.  O’Neill once said, ‘There are no good people and bad people but only people.’  His work elevated all of humanity, male and female, rich and poor, black and white.  He used his own rich Irish American cultural experience as a pathway to the universal themes of family drama, pain, humor, and tragedy.

Of the first Eugene O’Neill Award honoree, William Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Ironweed and other books focused on the Irish-American Phelan Family of Albany, the Proclamation reads: “As with O’Neill’s plays, Kennedy’s novels, essays and screenplays aspire to the highest level of artistic accomplishment, and his work will continue to touch, enlighten and entertain readers for many generations to come.”

The Proclamation also lauds the mission of the presenter of the O’Neill Award, Irish American Writers & Artists, noting that, “Since its inception, Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc. has celebrated the achievements of Irish American writers and artists, past and present.  IAW&A is committed both to bringing together the Irish American creative community in new self-awareness and to being a force for inter-ethnic and interracial solidarity, understanding and active cooperation.”

Joining Speaker Christine Quinn will be actors Matt Dillon, Michael O’Keefe, writer/director John Patrick Shanley, writer/actor Malachy McCourt and other guests who will read from O’Neill’s and Kennedy’s works.  Noted New York Times journalist Dan Barry will present the O’Neill Award to Kennedy. The Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Cocktail Reception, which will include a performance by Celtic singer Ashley Davis, will begin at 6.00 pm on Friday, October 16 at the Manhattan Club, upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s, 800 7th Avenue at the corner of 52nd St., near Times Square.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.oneillaward.org.

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