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Irish American Writers and Artists honour folk artist Judy Collins
Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc last night honoured singer Judy Collins with the Eugene O'Neill Lifetime Achievement Award.
O'Neill, an Irish-American playwright, was born on 16 October 1888 in a hotel room in New York City, and the award ceremony is timed to coincide with his birthday. The child of two Irish immigrants, he was awarded the Novel Prize for Literature in 1936 for his plays.
The award is presented annually to someone who has 'created a body of work that places them among the great artists and entertainers of all time.'
This year's recipient, Judy Collins, is a singer, activist and author who rose to prominence in the 1960s as a singer-songwriter with covers of famous songs alongside her own material.
'I am thrilled and honoured to be given this wonderful award named after the great Eugene O’Neill,' she said when informed about the award.
'I have always believed that, in my heart, I am first and foremost a storyteller descended from a long line of Irish storytellers and balladeers. It is a great tribute to be mentioned alongside O’Neill; I will gladly be there to accept the award.'
The famous playwright also gives his name to the Eugene O'Neill Award for acting in Sweden, where it is considered one of the country's top honours.
The Swedish award was founded by the playwright himself when he awarded the rights to his unstaged play 'Long Day's Journey Into Night' to the Royal Dramatic Theatre – Sweden's national theatre – in recognition of the support they had shown to his plays over the years.
The royalties from his works funded the Eugene O'Neill Memory Fund, which now presents the award on O'Neill's birthday each year.
O'Neill is said to have died, as he was born, in a hotel room, leaving with the famous last words: 'I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room and died in a hotel room.'