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Writing is a tough business and like all tough businesses, it’s best to have friends in high places that support you.

As a member of the Irish American Writers and Artists (IAW&A), I have reaped the benefits of networking that has scored book signings and events to support my books.

You might be thinking that this is all well and good if you have a book done or a deal signed, but the organization helps writers at all levels of development. 

IAW&A’s salon meets the first Tuesday of the month at the Thalia Café at Symphony Space, 95th and Broadway, at 7 p.m. The event runs until about 9:30 p.m.

Founder Malachy McCourt holds court and supports IAW&A writers, artists who read and perform. It’s a great way to get live feedback for your writing and practice the skill of making your book readings a performance! 

You can hop over to the IAW&A salon downtown at the Cell, which meets third Tuesday of the month, at 7 pm. The Cell is located at 338 West 23rd Street. Members and non-members are welcome to attend at no charge.

For more information or to schedule yourself on the salon calendar, contact Charles Hale at

IAW&A is a non-profit organization dedicated to the celebration of Irish American writers, actors, musicians, filmmakers and artists both past and present. They exist on the principle that by promoting and appreciating creative expression, they can enhance the human condition. I’ll drink to that!

IAW&A is comprised of a who’s who in Irish literary and arts circles, including Pete Hamill, Alice McDermott, Gabriel Byrne and Fionnula Flanagan.

They have partnered with retail outlets like Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, New Jersey, which works with the group to pick a monthly author for reading and book signing.

“It really extends our outreach. For our audience, it helps bring more cohesion to the readings and the promotions of writing Irish stories,” says Watching Bookseller’s Margot Sage-el.

“We have gotten new access to great voices from New York that we wouldn’t get ordinarily, so everyone wins.”

One of my favorite new authors, Honor Molloy, reads from Smarty Girl: Dublin Savages on April 26 at 7 pm. I’ll be reading from This Is Your Brain on Shamrocks on Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m.

I’ve said it before in this space and I’ll say it again -- if you are serious about pursuing your writing dreams, 2012 is your year.

The Irish American Writers and Artists group is a great team to have in your corner. For more information, log onto