is an American writer. She won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing
The Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing has been awarded since 1979 for a distinguished example of feature writing giving prime consideration to high literary quality and originality. The Pulitzer Committee issues an official citation explaining the reasons for the award.-List of winners and their...
for her account of the deadly April 2004 Utica, Illinois tornado outbreak, which was published in the Chicago Tribune, where Keller works as cultural critic. The newspaper has won many Pulitzer Prizes, but Keller's award was the first -- and thus far, the only -- time that the Tribune has won a Pulitzer in the feature writing category.
She has taught at Princeton University, Ohio State University and the University of Notre Dame, and has published two books. One is a cultural history of the 19th century, seen through the prism of the Gatling Gun and the life of inventor and businessman Richard Jordan Gatling; and a novel for young adults, narrated by a 13-year-old girl whose father suffers a traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injury , also known as intracranial injury, occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain. TBI can be classified based on severity, mechanism , or other features...
while serving with the United States Armed Forces in Iraq.
Born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia
Huntington is a city in Cabell and Wayne counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia, along the Ohio River. Most of the city is in Cabell County, for which it is the county seat. A small portion of the city, mainly the neighborhood of Westmoreland, is in Wayne County. Its population was 49,138 at...
, Keller earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Marshall University
Marshall University is a coeducational public research university in Huntington, West Virginia, United States founded in 1837, and named after John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States....
and a doctoral degree in English Literature from Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...
. Her master's thesis was an analysis of the Henry Roth novel, "Call It Sleep." Her doctoral dissertation developed a poetics of literary biography by contrasting multiple biographies of Virginia Woolf.
Keller was a 1998 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where she studied technologies of literacy.
Her non-fiction book Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel: The Gun That Changed Everything and the Misunderstood Genius Who Invented It
, which details the cultural impact of the Gatling gun
The Gatling gun is one of the best known early rapid-fire weapons and a forerunner of the modern machine gun. It is well known for its use by the Union forces during the American Civil War in the 1860s, which was the first time it was employed in combat...
, was published by Viking Press in 2008. The paperback edition was published by Penguin in 2009.
Her novel Back Home
was published by Egmont in September 2009. It was named by Booklist as one of the Top 10 first novels of the year for young adults.