Julia Keller

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Julia Keller is an American writer and former journalist.[1] Her awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.


Keller was born in Huntington, West Virginia and lived there throughout her early life. Her father was a mathematics professor who taught at Marshall University. She graduated from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and earned a doctoral degree in English literature from Ohio State University.[2][3][4][5] Her master's thesis was an analysis of the Henry Roth novel, Call It Sleep. Her doctoral dissertation explored multiple biographies of Virginia Woolf (A poetics of literary biography: The creation of "Virginia Woolf", Ohio State, 1996). She currently lives in both Chicago and rural Ohio.[2]


Keller was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University from the period of 1998 to 1999.[5][4] She has taught at Princeton University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Chicago.[4] She also has served four times as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes. Her reviews and commentary air on National Public Radio and on The Newshour (PBS).

Keller began her career as a journalist as an intern for columnist Jack Anderson.[5] She went on to work for over 25 years as a reporter for many major newspapers, including the Columbus Dispatch, The Daily Independent, and the Chicago Tribune.[4][5] She joined the staff of the Chicago Tribune in late 1998.[5] She was formerly employed as a cultural critic for the Chicago Tribune, but left her job in 2012 to write full-time.[2][6]

Keller won the annual Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for her three-part narrative account of the deadly Utica, Illinois tornado outbreak, published by the Chicago Tribune in April 2004. The jury called it a "gripping, meticulously reconstructed account of a deadly 10-second tornado".[1] The Tribune has won many Pulitzers but Keller's prize was its first win for feature writing.

In 2008, Keller wrote a nonfiction book that detailed the cultural impact of the Gatling gun. In 2012, she started publishing a series of mysteries, The Bell Elkins Mysteries, that details a woman's return to Appalachia and the mysteries that abound in her home town.[2] The first book in the series. starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus, and Booklist. It was also a winner of the Barry Award for Best First Mystery.


External video
video icon Presentation by Keller about Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel at the Printers Row Book Fair, June 8, 2008, C-SPAN
  • Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel: The Gun That Changed Everything and the Misunderstood Genius Who Invented It (Viking, 2008)
  • Back Home (Egmont, 2009), named by Booklist as one of the top ten YA debut novels of the year

Bell Elkins mysteries[edit]

  1. A Killing in the Hills (Minotaur, 2012); ISBN 978-1250028754
  2. Bitter River (Minotaur, 2013) ISBN 978-1250076212
  3. Summer of the Dead (Minotaur, 2014) ISBN 978-1250044730
  4. Last Ragged Breath (Minotaur, 2015) ISBN 978-1250044761
  5. Sorrow Road (Minotaur, 2016) ISBN 978-1250089588
  6. Fast Falls the Night (Minotaur, 2017) ISBN 9781250089618
  7. Bone on Bone (Minotaur, 2018) ISBN 978-1250190925
  8. The Cold Way Home (Minotaur, 2019) ISBN 978-1250191229

Bell Elkins e-novellas[edit]

  • The Devil's Stepdaughter (Minotaur, 2014)
  • A Haunting of the Bones (Minotaur, 2014)
  • Ghost Roll (Minotaur, 2015)
  • Evening Street (Minotaur, 2015)

The Dark Intercept[edit]

  1. The Dark Intercept (Tor Teen, 2017) ISBN 9780765387622
  2. Dark Mind Rising (Tor Teen, 2018) ISBN 9780765387653
  3. Dark Star Calling (Tor Teen, 2019) ISBN 9780765387691


  1. ^ a b "2005 Pulitzer Prizes". The Pulitzer Prize. The Pulitzer Prize. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Conversations with Julia Keller". WV Living. WV Living. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  3. ^ Adams, Noah. "In Mystery Series's W.Va. River Town, There's No Escape From Terror". NPR. NPR. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Cunningham, Bob. "Mystery revealed: Longtime Ohio journalist always had her sights set on thrillers". The Toledo Blade. The Toledo Blade. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Julia Keller of Chicago Tribune". The Pulitzer Prizes. The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  6. ^ Moos, Julie. "For writers, 'plans aren't worth a damn, but planning is essential'". Poynter. Poynter. Retrieved 29 November 2016.

External links[edit]