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About Keenan Norris

Keenan Norris is a novelist, essayist and scholar, the author of the novel The Confession of Copeland Cane.


2021 - Present Steinbeck Fellows Program Coordinator, San Jose State University
2017 - Present Assistant Professor, San Jose State University English and Comparative Literature
2016 - 2018 Faculty Advisor, Goddard College
2009 - 2018 English Instructor, Evergreen Valley College
2014 - 2015 Lecturer, California State University, East Bay


2022 Can Poetry Save the Planet?: Poetry & Environmental Justice
Humanities & Arts Artistic Excellence Programming
Colleague(s): Alan Soldofsky
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Professional Service and Affiliations

2021 - Present Board member, Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies,
2015 - Present Editorial Board member, Literature for Life
2015 - Present California Guest Editor, Oxford African American Studies Center
2022 Organized, Legacy of Poetry Festival
2020 - 2021 Steering committee member, Inlandia Institute
2020 Co-hosted and Moderated, Words, Beats & Life: Street Lit Symposium
2019 Editor-in-Chief, Reed Magazine
2019 Special Issue Editor, Words. Beats. Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture
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Honors and Awards

  • University of Virginia Rea Visiting Writer, November 2021
  • National Arts Entertainment Journalism Awards finalist for “One Coyote” 2021
  • Folio Eddie Award: Overall/Special Interest for “One Coyote”, 2021
  • Publisher’s Weekly starred review for The Confession of Copeland Cane 2021
  • Publisher’s Weekly Summer Reads for The Confession of Copeland Cane 2021
  • Public Voices Fellow, 2020 21
  • Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize for The Confession of Copeland Cane 2020 (declined)
  • Marin Headlands Fellow (Artist in Residence), 2017
  • Callaloo Fellow, 2016
  • Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Fellow, 2015, 2017
  • SJSU College of Humanities & Arts RSCA Award, 2021-22


June 2013 PhD, English, University of California, Riverside
May 2005 MFA, English and Creative Writing, Mills College

Books Authored (3)

Presentations (2)

Recent Works (2)

SJSU Author & Artist Celebration (2)

Anthologized Fiction and Non-Fiction (4)

Book Chapters and Scholarly Resources (2)

Scholarly Articles (1)

Feature Essays in Magazines, Journals and Periodicals (3)

Other Journalism and Editorial Publications (7)