My middle grade students entrenched in "Wonder"...

My middle grade students entrenched in "Wonder"...


Hello! My name is Annie Calhoun and I am a passionate writer and innovative educator residing in Los Angeles, California. I received my BS in English/Theatre Education for grades 6-12 at Taylor University, and then my MFA in Acting from DePaul University's Theatre School in Chicago (my hometown). I still act and perform improv at iO West (I completed iO, UCB and Second City's training programs where I performed regularly), and am currently using my theatre training to create characters with depth, humor, and vulnerability who come to life on the page.  I was a member of Chicago Dramatists in Chicago and am an ongoing learner at UCLA's Writing Extension Program. You can follow me @anniewritergirl on twitter and I am repped by The Rights Factory:


P.S. UNLOVEABLES (Hour TV Drama Pilot based on the disparity between schools in LA)

CHICAGO SKYWAY ( Half Hour TV Comedy Pilot about the women who run the skyway tollbooths in Chicago)


CJ AND PUG (just finished, see bottom of page!)      

Here I am again with tears in my eyes because I just finished your gorgeous, hilarious, KILLER of a book (CJ and PUG)...thank you for these amazing characters.
— Theresa Nelson, award winning YA novelist (

GRACIE AND THE A's (in progress...graphic novel about a girl who survived Hurricane Katrina)


A FRIDAY HABIT (AdlerImprov Studio, LA)


COUCH DATES; AN AMISH PLAY (DePaul Reading Spring Series)  

IN THE BEGINNING (Red Orchid debut)

CARNIVAL Libretto (ChiArts Dance Co.) 

AGES WITH 8 (Red Orchid short play series)        


NUN MEMOIRS (Chautauqua Theatre Co. Caberet)

DULA (Chicago Dramatists Reading)     

EDUCATOR:  In Chicago I was part of the adjunct faculty at DePaul University teaching theatre.  I also had the privilege to teach acting and coach the improv team on the founding faculty of the first ever public arts high school in Chicago 2009-2012, ChiArts (  I then moved to California to help found KIPP Scholar Academy, a public charter middle school meeting the needs of underserved youth in South LA (  I am the current reading intervention specialist and theatre director here and won a 10,000 classroom innovation grant last year.  I also teach voice and speech at The Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (


When CJ and Pug find clues that could lead them to CJ’s mother, this unlikely boy/girl duo risk stepping outside their South Los Angeles neighborhood on an adventure they never expected.
CJ AND PUG is a summer coming-of-age middle grade novel where resourcefulness, imagination, and grit shine through two hilarious kids the world could easily lump into another sad statistic about underserved youth in urban cities...but who are determined not to be.

I have been teaching in inner city neighborhoods like CJ and Pug’s since receiving my MFA six years ago from DePaul University in Chicago, and I am thrilled to have created and finished a novel that has come out of these experiences.  CJ AND PUG is complete with at 54,000 words.

What I've noticed as a teacher, is a lack of middle grade fiction that mirrors the daily lives and faces of my students.  There are sensationalized stories about urban areas, but a deficit in humorous realistic adventures that occur within the funny and touching moments of daily growing up.  CJ AND PUG fills this void.  This book is for my kids.  I am a member of SCBWI and often speak at the Los Angeles chapter meetings on the integration of new Common Core educational standards into writing for youth.                                              

KIPP Scholar Theatre March 2015 Musical a success! We reached our goal!

ChiArts Theatre Students

I am struck by her skill at crafting vivid characters with unique voices and idiosyncratic points for view. Her dialogue is fresh, surprising, and captures the beating hearts of her characters...As a gifted actress Ms. Calhoun brings an innate understanding of dramatic tension, character revelation and behavioral detail that is very compelling.
— Carlos Murillo, award winning playwright, DePaul University Theatre School, Head of Playwriting

KIPP Scholar: Teaching Common Core through chants!

Last year, my students and I won a 10,000 Innovation Grant!

ChiArts Acting for Dancers.

KIPP Scholar: States and capitals chant!