ADA CALHOUN is redefining journalism, one story at a time.
With a wry smile, shrewd reporting, and exquisite detail, Ada Calhoun distills America’s signature triumphs in music, theater, commerce, activism, politics, and its transgressions-- including drug abuse, prostitution and, yes, slavery, in her latest book St. Marks is Dead. She chronicles the history of three short blocks in New York from when the land was grassy and feral to now, where you can count the number of trees on two hands. It is still feral and Calhoun revels in the beauty and ugliness which emerges as a result. Her affection for St. Marks in the East Village is palpable, as it was the very block she grew up on, but it is her affecting prose which paints a gripping portrait. Even those who loathe New York or history books or are sick of hearing about how hip and edgy the punk era or sexual revolution won’t want to put down this book.
In our interview, which was recorded live at the Writers Guild (WGA-East) in downtown New York, we spoke about her near two decades as a writer. Prolific, if not compulsive, about working, Ada reveals how she is able to jump around and cover so many beats, a rare feat, especially in a competitive industry like journalism. We talked about her stint as a crime reporter for the New York Post, theater critic for New York magazine, collaborating with fashion guru Tim Gunn, and how she snagged jobs off Mediabistro. Who actually gets plum jobs off of faceless internet job board????? Someone who is extremely qualified. The more she writes, the better she gets. Ada Calhoun, very much like the New York she chronicles, knows how to reinvent herself. It should come as no surprise that Ada Calhoun’s next book is a departure from the last. She is currently penning How to Stay, which is based on an essay she wrote in 2015 “The Wedding Toast I’ll Never Give” in the New York Times. Once you read St. Marks is Dead, you'll understand why she is one of the hottest writers around. (She is also beautiful, but I was referring to her choice of fonts.)
For more, go to www.employeeofthemonthshow or @catielazarus