O’Garden’s critically acclaimed play, Women On Fire, starring Judith Ivey, was twice extended and played to sold-out houses Off Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre. It was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Solo Show, and is published by Samuel French. Two of its monologues are published in Best Women’s Stage Monologues.
Her new play, Little Heart, won her a Berilla Kerr Playwriting Fellowship and was awarded full development at the New Harmony Play Project.
O’Garden’s writing is anthologized with Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem and others in The Greatness Of Girls (Andrews McMeel) Included is an excerpt from her book/theatre piece, Fat Girl, which describes how she came to peace with food and body after a decades-long struggle. Harper San Francisco published it in hardcover with her drawings, and O’Garden has performed it throughout the US and Canada.
For her work in children’s literature, Irene received the 2009 Alice Curtis Desmond Award. She also won the Gold Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Award for The Scrubbly Bubbly Car Wash (Harper). Her first children’s book, Maybe My Baby, (Harper) has sold over 90,000 copies. Her new book, Forest, What Would You Like? is forthcoming from Holiday House in March 2013.
Irene has presented at children’s literature conferences at Vassar and NYU and teaches poetry workshops at New York City schools. Irene is especially pleased to bring the national River Of Words program to Hudson Valley schools under the auspices of the Hudson Highlands Land Trust.
Poets and Writers has awarded her several grants for poetry performance throughout the region. O’Garden has also performed her poetry at the Bowery Poetry Club, Nuyorican Poetry Café and at The Player’s Club in Manhattan. Her poetry is found or forthcoming in literary journals and anthologies such as The Alembic, Anemone Sidecar, Atlanta Review, The Awakenings Review, Bayou, Borderlands: The Texas Poetry Review, California Quarterly, Calyx, Chachalaca Poetry Review, College English, Compass Rose,Controlled Burn, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Permafrost, Rockford Review, Skylark, Spirit To Spirit, Tusculum Review, Willow Review, Whiskey Island Review and Zone 3.
Irene has been awarded several residences at artists’ colonies throughout the country, most recently at The Millay Colony. In 1987, she created a performing literary magazine called The Art Garden. After producing, hosting and writing for it for 25 years, she recently put the garden to bed. Irene is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild, The Authors Guild, Actor’s Equity Association, The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and The Society of Scribes.
She lives joyfully with John Pielmeier, her husband of thirty years. Most known for his play Agnes of God, John also writes movies and miniseries (Pillars Of the Earth) for television. They make their home in Garrison, New York.