Allen Johnson Jr.

Storyteller/writer, poet and Jazz guitar player

I was born and raised in Mountain Brook, Alabama, attending Mountain Brook Elementary School.

I graduated from the Lawrenceville School in 1954, attended the University of Alabama for two years, farmed in Florida for two years—growing strawberries and Easter lilies—and then served in the Army in an armored infantry scout platoon in Germany. Returning to college in 1960, I received a degree in botany from the University of Miami.

I lived in Vermont for 23 years with my first wife, Linda, where we founded the Vermont State Craft Center. During that time, I wrote freelance articles, studied jazz guitar and produced guitar study material with noted jazz guitarist Barry Galbraith.

In Vermont, I played in a jazz trio with pianist/composer, Ernest Stires and bassist, Bob Clark. The high point of my musical life was performing in the late 80s in a duo with my dear friend, jazz violinist, Richard Braunlich.

I served on the board of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United for forty-one years.

From the early nineties, when I was living in Birmingham, Alabama, until the present, I have been writing for children. During this time, I also wrote four books for adults. I have recently completed a trilogy, The Blackwater Novels. Meant for youngsters of all ages, they show the joys and perils of growing up in the great outdoors in the 1930s South. They are written in the first person voice(s) of a boy (sometimes two boys). The novels have won five awards.

I now live on Mercer Island, Washington with my wife Jill, and three dogs, Sunshine, Piccolo and Chloe. I have three grown children, Colby, April and Ben—all filmmakers!

Additional information can be found at

December 7, 2017
November 13, 2016

Got a tip?

Do you have info to share with HuffPost reporters? Here’s how.