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Katy Ryan

Associate Professor; Eberly Professor of Outstanding Teaching

Katy Ryan teaches courses in twentieth-century and contemporary American literature. She is the recipient of the 2014 Neil S. Bucklew Award for Social Justice, a WVU Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award, an Eberly College Outstanding Teaching Award, and the James and Arthur Gabriel Brothers Faculty Award for teaching and service. She edited a collection of creative and critical writings on the death penalty, Demands of the Dead: Executions, Storytelling, and Activism (Univ. of Iowa, 2012).She serves on the board of the Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP), a nonprofit that she founded in 2004. APBP sends free books to women and men imprisoned in West Virginia and five surrounding states. Her essays appear in American Literature, African American Literature, Studies in the Novel, Philosophy and Literature, and Texas Studies in Literature and Language. More at


  • 20th Century American Literature
  • Prison Literature
  • Performance Studies

Selected Publications:

  • Editor, Demands of the Dead: Executions, Storytelling, and Activism in the United States (Univ. of Iowa Press, 2012).
  • “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).