Ada Calhoun is the author of Also a Poet: Frank O’Hara, My Father, and Me, named one of the Best Books of 2022 by the New York Times, Washington Post, Oprah Daily, and NPR; featured on PBS News Hour and the Today show; and longlisted for an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction. Times critic Alexandra Jacobs called it her favorite memoir of the year; Hudson Booksellers called it the nonfiction book of the year.
Her instant New York Times bestseller Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis, was an expansion of her viral story for Oprah.com about the unique circumstances faced by Generation X women. One of the Amazon Editors’ Best Nonfiction Books of 2020, a Goodreads Choice Award Finalist, and an Indie Next Pick, Why We Can’t Sleep was one of the biggest books of the season according to the New York Times, Parade, and O magazine. It was translated into multiple foreign languages.
Calhoun’s prior two books are the New York City history St. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street, a New York Times Editors’ Pick named one of the best books of 2015 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Orlando Weekly, the New York Post, and the Village Voice; and the memoir Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give, which came out of a viral Modern Love column and was featured twice on the Today show.
Past jobs include crime reporter for the New York Post, frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review, and theater listings editor for New York magazine. She is an A‑list ghostwriter, having anonymously collaborated on twenty-five major nonfiction books in the past dozen years, including several New York Times bestsellers.
She has written for Time, National Geographic Traveler, the Times Literary Supplement, the New Republic, Billboard, Cosmopolitan, the Washington Post, and Redbook; and contributed three essays to the New Yorker’s “Page-Turner” column; and three “Modern Love,” and four “Lives” columns to the New York Times. Her contribution to Beastie Boys Book was called “one of the more effective guest-star turns.”
Her national news reporting has won several awards, including a USC-Annenberg National Health Journalism Fellowship, a Kiplinger fellowship, a CCF Media Award (for her New York Times Magazine work on a legal challenge in Alabama), a Croly Award, and an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship. She received a MacDowell colony stay in 2013 for St. Marks Is Dead, and has been granted residencies in the New York Public Library’s scholars’ rooms seven times since 2011. In 2023 she was a fellow at the Hawthornden Castle in Scotland.
In 2018, she cofounded the women journalists bar night Sob Sisters; meetings are held four times a year at the 11th Street Bar in the East Village. She’s taught public affairs reporting at Hofstra University, creative non-fiction at the Rutgers Summer Conference, memoir and proposal writing at the Miami Book Fair’s Writers Institute (for which she served as the first Emerging Writer Fellowship nonfiction mentor); and in August 2023 she will return to teach memoir for a second season at the Omega Institute in Upstate New York. She’s lectured or served on panels at a dozen book festivals since 2015 and toured to bookstores in twenty cities.
In a cover profile, the Village Voice described her as “cheerful and mannerly.” The New York Times called her “effervescent and conversational.” Publishers Weekly: “With tousled bleach-blonde hair, she gives off a kind of Debbie Harry, circa the 1970s, energy.”
She lives with her teenage son in Manhattan’s East Village, where she’s working on her first novel.