IRENE O’GARDEN has won or been nominated for prizes in nearly every writing category from stage to e-screen, hardcovers, children’s books as well as literary magazines and anthologies.
O’Garden’s critically acclaimed play, Women On Fire, starring Judith Ivey, was twice extended and played sold-out houses Off Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Solo Show, it’s published by Samuel French. Two of its monologues are published in Best Women’s Stage Monologues.
Risking the Rapids: How My Wilderness Adventure Healed My Childhood was published by Mango in 2019. The memoir opens with the shocking death of her problematic older brother in 2014. Presented in short, punchy, lyrical chapters, Irene’s narrative alternates between her repressed mid-century Midwest Catholic upbringing to the present-day pitching white waters of Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness — immediately grabbing readers where most of us live — in a family.
Her newest play, Little Heart, about artist Corita Kent, won her a Berilla Kerr Playwriting Fellowship and was awarded full development at the New Harmony Play Project.
O’Garden’s lyric essay, “Glad To Be Human,” won the Pushcart Prize. It was originally published in the Tusculum Review, and anchors her new collection of essays by the same title.
Irene’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 memoir 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.
Nirala Press published her book Fulcrum: Selected Poems, which contains her prize-winning poem “Nonfiction.” Her poems and essays have been featured in dozens of literary journals and award-winning anthologies (A Slant of Light, USA Book Award Best Anthology.) She recently won The Scott Meyer Poetry Award for her new poem, “Morning Coffee.”
Her poetry and essays are found in literary journals and anthologies such as Atlanta Review, The Awakenings Review, Barrow Street, California Quarterly, CALYX, College English, Hawaii Pacific Review, Sanskrit, Tusculum Review, Willow Review, and dozens of others.
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 Beacon Institute of Rivers and Estuaries. 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 forty years. Most known for his play Agnes of God, John also writes movies, miniseries (The Pillars Of the Earth) and novels (Hook’s Tale, Scribner.) John’s new stage adaptation of The Exorcist ran in London’s West End and toured the UK.