Katy Ryan teaches courses in twentieth-century and contemporary American literature. She is the recipient of the Sigma Tau Delta Outstanding Teaching Award; the Neil S. Bucklew Award for Social Justice; the WVU Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award; the Eberly College Outstanding Teaching Award; and the James and Arthur Gabriel Brothers Faculty Award for teaching and service.
Her research focuses on the history and literature of imprisonment. She edited a collection of creative and critical writings on the death penalty, Demands of the Dead: Executions, Storytelling, and Activism in the United States (Univ. of Iowa, 2012). She serves on the board of the Appalachian Prison Book Project (aprisonbookproject.wordpress.com), a nonprofit that she founded in 2004. APBP sends free books to imprisoned people and facilitates book clubs in a federal prison.
- 20th Century American Literature
- Prison Literature
- Performance Studies
- "A Prison Nation and Freedom Dreams: 1980s Literature of Incarceration.” American Literature in Transition: 1980-1990. Ed. Quentin Miller. Cambridge University Press, 2017. 129-146.
- “'When Freedom Comes’: Maria Parker, the Women’s Department, and the West Virginia State Penitentiary.” West Virginia History 11.1 (Spring 2017): 1-27.
- With Yvonne Hammond, “Work & Hope and the West Virginia State Penitentiary.” West Virginia History 11.1 (Spring 2017): 29-43.
- “Prison, Time, Kairos in Langston Hughes’s Scottsboro, Limited.” Modern Drama 58.2 (June 2015): 171-193.
- Editor, Demands of the Dead: Executions, Storytelling, and Activism in the United States (Univ. of Iowa Press, 2012). http://www.uiowapress.org/books/2012-spring/demands-dead.htm
- “A View of The Brig: From the Cage to the Street.” Political and Protest Theatre after 9-11: Patriotic Dissent (Routledge, 2012).
- “State Killing, the Stage of Innocence, and The Exonerated.” American Literature 83.1 (March 2011).
- “Permeable Borders and American Prisons: Malcolm Braly’s On the Yard.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 50.3 (Fall 2008).
- “Horizons of Grace: Marilynne Robinson and Simone Weil.” Philosophy and Literature 29.2 (Oct. 2005): 349-364.
- “Falling in Public: Larsen’s Passing, McCarthy’s The Group, and Baldwin’s Another Country.” Studies in the Novel 36.1 (Spring 2004): 95-119.
- “Assurance of God.” Short Story. Denver Quarterly (Winter 2001).
- “Revolutionary Suicide in Toni Morrison’s Novels.” African American Review (Fall 2000).
- “Documentary Films on U.S. Social Issues.” Humanities Collection 1.3 (1999).
- "'No Less Human’: Making History in Suzan-Lori Parks’s The American Play.” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 8.2 (Spring 1999).
- “A Body’s Mind Experience in Tim Miller’s Workshop.” Theatre Topics 7.2 (Sept. 1997).