AC LA 2021
Photo by Kathleen Hanna, Los Angeles, 2021

Ada Calhoun is the New York Times bestselling author of St. Marks Is Dead, Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give, and Why We Can't Sleep. She has written for the New York Times, the New Republic, and the Washington Post, and she has ghostwritten twenty books. Her memoir Also a Poet: Frank O'Hara, My Father, and Me is due out in 2022.

Why We Can't Sleep

Women's New Midlife Crisis

A New York Times bestseller!

Why we cant sleep paperback shadow

One of the Amazon Editors' best nonfiction books of 2020 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, O magazine, Book Riot,,, and!

Exploring her cohort's experience as the generation raised to “have it all,” Calhoun found women who were exhausted, terrified about money, under-employed, and overwhelmed. Instead of their issues being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take “me-time,” or make a chore chart. In Why We Can’t Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X’s predicament. The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle-aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them.

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Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give

A refreshing take on marriage.

One of the top ten memoirs of the year (W magazine), Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give shows that marriage “isn’t a happy ending, but rather an opening scene” (Times Literary Supplement). In these “warm-hearted, Ephron-esque” (Washington Post) essays inspired by her popular Modern Love column, Ada Calhoun offers a “funny” (Today Show), “insightful” (Star, “Hot Book”), “raw and relatable” (Brides) portrait of modern coupledom, “a thoughtful read for the monogamous, non-monogamous, and every relationship iteration in between” (New York). In the New York Times Book Review’s “By the Book,” Tom Hanks said it was the last book to make him laugh: "I mean, underlining and yellow marker bust-out laughs." Molly Ringwald called it “the definitive meditation on marriage in all of its mystery and imperfection."

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“ONE OF THE TEN BEST MEMOIRS OF 2017…This frank collection meditates on marriage as an ever-evolving thing, one full of failure and triumph and lots of change… A hilarious relief from the 'happily ever after' narrative.”

W magazine

“[A] lighthearted approach to the toils and snares of marriage… original, engrossing.”

New York Times Book Review

“Raise a glass to these reality-check essays that are equal parts ode to marriage (“I adore my husband and plan to be with him forever”) and sly acknowledgement to its challenges (“I also want to run screaming from the house because he insists on falling asleep to Frasier reruns”).

O magazine, “10 Titles to Pick Up Now,” June 2017

St. Marks Is Dead

The Many Lives of America's Hippest Street

A provocative city history.

Ada Calhoun, who grew up on St. Marks Place, interviewed 250 past and present East Villagers for this surprising New York City history, one of the best nonfiction books of 2015 according to Kirkus, The Boston Globe, and the Village Voice.

Organizing the street’s centuries-long history around the moments when people have declared “St. Marks is dead,” this vibrant, idiosyncratic work offers what The Atlantic calls a “timely, provocative, and stylishly written” new take on urban nostalgia.

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A Village Voice cover profile of the author declared, “With St. Marks Is Dead, Ada Calhoun just became the most important new voice on old New York.” The paper also called the book the year’s “Best Nonfiction Book About New York.”

Rave reviews from across the country. “Timely, provocative, and stylishly written,” said The Atlantic. “Sophisticated…A delightful book,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. “Nuanced, captivating, and thoroughly fun,” claimed the L.A. Review of Books. Amazoncalled it a Best Book of November 2015. The New York Times Book Review called it “an ecstatic roll call,” and named it a New York Times Editors’ Pick.

One of the best books of the year — Boston Globe, 2015, which earlier in the year wrote in “Fall Suggestions”: “Calhoun makes a case for the enduring relevance and legacy of St. Marks Place, the quintessential downtown street and home to everyone from W.H. Auden to Keith Haring.” Also named one of the best books of the year by Kirkus, Orlando Weekly, and the New York Post.