Have your say! Which of the IrishCentral Creativity and Arts Awards nominees for Voice of Today should be the winner?
Learn all about their extraordinary work below, and then head over to our voting portal to cast your vote. Want to attend the awards ceremony? Get your tickets here. Our wonderful sponsors include TG4, Feile 30, Irish American Writers & Artists, Slane Irish Whiskey, American Irish Historical Society, and Irish Network USA.
Maeve Higgins -- Comedian, Author & Podcast Host
Maeve, a native of Cobh, County Cork, has made a name for herself in the US with the hit podcast Maeve In America, which tells the stories of immigrants trying to navigate the US immigration system. Give a listen to her episode about Annie Moore, below. She has also hosted 'Star Talk' on National Geographic with Neil deGrasse Tyson.
As a comedian, Higgins has performed stand-up all over the world, including in her native Ireland as well as Scotland, Australia and Erbil, Iraq. Based in New York for the past few years, she runs the comedy show I'm New Here with Jon Ronson. She has appeared on 'Inside Amy Schumer,' and Schumer has described her as "hilarious. She is the true Irish voice of our American generation."
Already the author of two books published in Ireland, 'We Have a Good Time... Don't We?' and 'Off You Go: Away From Home and Loving It,' she has a new essay collection titled 'Maeve in America: Essays By a Girl from Somewhere Else' coming out in August from Penguin Books.
Christine Kinealy -- Historian, Author and Founding Director of Ireland's Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University
Born in Liverpool, Christine has published extensively on the impact of the Great Irish Famine and has lectured on the relationship between poverty and famine in India, Spain, Canada, France, Finland and New Zealand. She also has spoken to invited audiences in the British Parliament and in the U.S. Congress.
Kinealy is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where she completed her doctorate on the introduction of the Poor Law to Ireland. She then worked in educational and research institutes in Dublin, Belfast and Liverpool. Beginning with her Ph.D. dissertation at Trinity College on the Irish workhouse system and continuing, in 1997, with her breakthrough book 'This Great Calamity: The Irish Famine 1845-52,' Kinealy has become an influential authority on Ireland and the Great Hunger. Throughout her many books she has expertly tackled issues like the Irish Famine, the abolitionist movement, the revolutions of 1848, and Northern Ireland.
Based in the United States since 2007, she was named one of the most influential Irish Americans in 2011 by "Irish America" Magazine. In 2013, she received the Holyoke, Mass. St. Patrick's Day Parade's Ambassador Award. In March 2014, she was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame.
Maureen Dowd -- Reporter, Columnist, and Author
American Institution Maureen O’Dowd is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, author, and commentator for the New York Times.
Dowd is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and author of two New York Times bestsellers, 'Are Men Necessary?' and 'Bushworld.' Her most recent book is an examination of the 2016 election, titled 'The Year of Voting Dangerously.'
She became an op-ed columnist for the Times in 1995 where she writes about American politics, popular culture, and international affairs, and in August 2014, she also became a writer for the Sunday Times Magazine. Dowd joined The New York Times as a metropolitan reporter in 1983 and went on to be a Washington and White House correspondent. She began her career in 1974 as an editorial assistant for The Washington Star, where she later became a sports columnist, metropolitan reporter and feature writer.
Maureen’s father Michael was the son of a poor farmer in Co. Clare. Her mother, Peggy Meenehan, was a barkeeper’s daughter and both were champion Irish step dancers. They raised Dowd and her siblings in Washington, D.C.
In addition to the New York Times, Maureen has written for GQ, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, the New Republic, Mademoiselle, Sports Illustrated and others. Her column appears every Sunday.
John Donoghue -- Associate Professor of History, Loyola University Chicago
John Donoghue of Boston is Associate Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago where he teaches courses on colonial America, the United States, and history of the Atlantic world.
Donoghue’s research focuses on the impact of radical politics, abolitionist thought, and religion in the seventeenth-century Anglo-American Atlantic world. In “Fire Under the Ashes: An Atlantic History of the English Revolution” (University of Chicago Press, 2013), Donoghue traces the rise of abolitionist thought and action by following the lives of republican radicals around the Atlantic world during the age of the English Revolution. In "Building the Atlantic Empires: Slavery, the State, and the Rise of Global Capitalism, 1500-1945" (Brill, 2014), co-edited with Evelyn Jennings, Donoghue explores how states secured their imperial interests by mobilizing various forms of unfree labor for military conquest, infrastructural development, and plantation work.
Donoghue has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Michael Kraus Research Grant from the American Historical Association (2003), a Visiting Fellowship from Trinity College at the University of Dublin (2011), a Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual research grant (2011), the Mary C. Mooney Research Fellowship from the Boston Athenaeum (2003), and grants from the International Seminar for Atlantic History at Harvard University. As a member of Historians Against Slavery, Donoghue works with other slavery scholars to end modern bondage by educating the public about its connections to historical slavery.
Shannon Downey -- Badass Cross Stitch
Irish-American Shannon is based in Chicago and is known for her “craftivism,” or making embroidered art with a political message. The Boston native's work went viral first in January 2016, when she brought a massive cross stitch sign to the Women's March in Chicago, and then again this past October when her vast improvement on the saying "Boys will be boys" was shared by millions after Harvey Weinstein's history of sexual harassment went public.
In addition to her work as an activist and fiber artist, Downey is an adjunct professor in the Design and Business and Entrepreneurship departments at Columbia College in Chicago and is also an adjunct faculty member at DePaul University. For 10 years she ran her own marketing company, Pivotal Chicago, which focused on small to medium-sized businesses and non-profits. She is also the founder of Seriouly Badass Women.
She is now the Director of Development at Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Chicago. Per her bio, her Boston childhood was spent on a picket line fighting alongside the labor movement. She comes from a long line of fire starters, instigators, and doer of things that matter.