In addition to his seven published books, Callen is the author of many plays and other works. He is currently working on a book of poems and a book of essays.
Callen has written 23 full-length plays, a full-length adaptation, a one-act play, and about 50 monologues that have been produced. The monologues he wrote for a cemetery tour sponsored by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Talking Spirits, received two awards. The first was a 1999 Award of Merit that the program received from the Wisconsin Historical Society. In 2003 the first four years of the project received an award from the American Association of State and Local History. Most of his full-length plays have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin, one of the oldest experimental theater companies in the nation. He is a lifetime member of the theater and served as the Artistic Director from 2005-2010. He is also a member of the Wisconsin Writers Association, Council for Wisconsin Writers, and the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets..
In addition, he has had poems, articles and essays appear in various publications, including The James White Review, The Sweetwater Review, Out!, Isthmus, Scott Stamp Monthly, Our Lives Magazine, and the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets' annual poetry calendar, among others. Online, he has been published by Life After Hate, The Progressive, and others, as well as on his own blog, A Single Bluebird.
Callen is also an activist and public speaker on surviving child sex abuse. He has spoken before many organizations, including MaleSurvivor's 14th International Conference in Newark, New Jersey in 2014 and as the keynote speaker for Bolton Refuge House's annual Fall Gala in 2017 and for the Paths to Healing conference in June of 2018. Callen was the driving force in creating Paths to Healing in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a one-day conference on surviving child sex abuse with a focus on male survivors. He won Community Shares of Wisconsin's Backyard Hero award in October of 2013 for his work on organizing the conference. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault honored him for his survivor activism by naming him their annual Courage Award winner.
Callen has written many essays and articles as a survivor. He is one of the men featured on the Bristlecone Project, a website and touring art show that highlights the photos and biographies of male survivors of sexual abuse. He also wrote the autobiographical play, Invisible Boy, about his experiences.
As a queer community activist Callen was an active member of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's Gay and Lesbian Alliance back in the early 1980s. After moving to Madison he was one of the four co-founders of The 10% Society in 1983, the first campus-wide LGBT organization on the University of Wisconsin campus. Starting in 1999 he worked for two and a half years as the Direct Services Coordinator at Outreach, Madison, Wisconsin's LGBT community center. During that time he also served on the Dane County Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence's same-sex domestic violence task force. In 1999 he was the co-founder of Proud Theater, an LGBT youth theater group that grew to six chapters around Wisconsin after a new chapter opened in Green Bay in the fall of 2018. He retired as a mentor of the Madison chapter after twenty years after the 2019 spring show and retired as a Board member of the parent organization, Art and Soul Innovations, Inc., in the fall of 2019. He has worked with several LGBT organizations, written articles and essays on queer issues, and spoken to many groups, including emceeing Madison's annual pride celebration. In 2003 he was awarded OutReach's Man of the Year award for his activism.
Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin, Callen now lives with Brian, his partner of 30 years, in Monona, Wisconsin. They share their house with two dogs, two cats, a couple of finches, and a leopard gecko. Besides writing, he is a published and prize-winning photographer, an avid hiker, birdwatcher, stamp collector, traveler, reader, community activist, and has many other interests that are too numerous to list.
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Page last updated 3/12/21