AWA Affiliate Madge O’Callaghan’s documentary, My Uncle Jack, has won a Gold Medal at the New York Festivals World Radio Awards. On June 20 2016, Madge accepted the award at the prestigious New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs Ceremony.
In Madge’s own words:
“The documentary tells the story of early childhood abuse, emigration and the triumph of goodness over evil through race walking and music. Uncle Jack, an 86- year-old who had emigrated to the UK after spending his early years in Greenmount Industrial School, and went on to be an International Race Walker who got very little recognition in is own country, Ireland.
Jack’s experience in the industrial schools is reflected in modern day Ireland in detention centres for migrants; how children’s mental health services in Ireland are inaccessible to many; how we still send children abroad for treatment of their mental illness. In my acceptance speech, I explained how I was accepted to study journalism in 1972, and how there was no money to send me to college so I did what so many women of my generation in Ireland did: had children, grandchildren, now great grandchildren, but now I’m on the stage of the Manhattan Penthouse in New York surrounded by seasoned journalists from all over the world.
Documentary making is a great way to get our writing out there. We all have stories. They don’t all have to be about huge events or situations in our lives. Some are short and simple. Through my writing with Amherst Writers & Artists and my confidence in my belief as a writer, I was able to write the story of my Uncle Jack and turn it into a documentary. Thank you to Amherst Writers & Artists for giving me the confidence in my ability to tell a story. I loved every minute of making the documentary. I can’t wait to make another.”