Last October, Irish American Writers and Artists honored one of its great writers, John Patrick Shanley, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Since he is my all-time favorite playwright, I was thrilled to help put the evening together. Olympia Dukakis gave a marvelous speech (originally her assistant told me she would agree to “roast” John, and I thought Oh My God, but then went with it. ) and Debra Messing read a scene from “The Big Funk” with fellow actor and partner, Will Chase. I chose this particular play for them to read because it has such a deep heart — and by coincidence the director Doug Hughes spoke of its its original production in his presentation speech to John. It was a perfectly literary and emotionally Irish celebration!