Top 100 - 2011

Lawrence Welsh

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, first-generation Irish-American writer and poet Lawrence Welsh has lived an interesting and varied life in America’s Southwest. In 1979, he co-founded and wrote songs for the L.A.-based punk band The Alcoholics. The band broke up in 1982, releasing only one 7-inch, 5-song EP titled Alcoholics. Welsh then switched gears, enrolling at El Camino College in Gardena, CA, where he ended up in a journalism class, finding his passion. He graduated with a degree in journalism from California State University, Long Beach in 1987. Two years later, Welsh traveled to the Southwest for the first time, hitchhiking to New Mexico and Texas. Five years later, he moved to El Paso, TX, where he still lives today.

His mother, Nancy Anne Hogan Welsh, emigrated from Nenagh, County Tipperary, to the U.S. after WW II. His father’s grandfather came to America from County Cork.

What is abundantly clear is that Welsh has lived his life amongst words, from his songwriting days with The Alcoholics to his award-winning journalism career to his poetry. In addition to being a nationally recognized spoken word artist, he has published seven books of poetry, the most recent being Carney Takedown. Welsh is a contributor to The Outlaw Poetry Network, Jacket Magazine, an online literary magazine and Pearl magazine, among others.

Among the many accolades he has received, Welsh has won The Bardsong Press Celtic Voice Writing Award in Poetry, Society of Professional Journalists Bill Farr Reporting Award, and the Copley Los Angeles Newspapers Award.