Risking the Rapids opens with the shocking death of O'Garden's older brother, which prompts her and other relatives to seek closure on a journey through the remotest spot in Montana. Described genially as a river "float," a harrowing journey unfolds. This wilderness trip is contrasted with O'Garden's account of growing up with her six siblings in a clashing Catholic family.
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. Her critically-acclaimed play Women On Fire, (Samuel French) starring Judith Ivey, played sold-out houses at Off-Broadway’s Cherry Lane Theatre and was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award. Her new play, Little Heart, won her a Berilla Kerr Playwriting Fellowship and was awarded full development at the New Harmony Play Project. O’Garden was awarded a Pushcart Prize for her lyric essay “Glad To Be Human,” (Untreed Reads.) Harper published her first memoir Fat Girl and Nirala Press recently published her book Fulcrum, Selected Poems, which contains her prize-winning poem “Nonfiction.”