William McKeen

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For the railroad icon, see William R. McKeen, Jr.
William McKeen
Born (1954-09-16) September 16, 1954 (age 61)
Nationality United States
Institutions Boston University
Alma mater Indiana University
University of Oklahoma
Known for Writing books; being the chairman of the Department of Journalism at BU

William McKeen is professor and chairman of the Department of Journalism at Boston University.[1]

McKeen has written and/or edited a dozen books. Outlaw Journalist (W.W. Norton, 2008) is his biography of writer Hunter S. Thompson.

McKeen's latest book is Mile Marker Zero (Crown Books, 2011), a non-fiction narrative about the writers, artists, musicians and actors in Key West in the 1970s. Writer Tom Wolfe called the book "a tall but telescopic-sight-true tale of Hunter Thompson, Jimmy Buffett, Tom McGuane, and a large cavorting cast running around with sand in their shoes at 'ground zero for lust and greed and most of the other deadly sins,' Key West." Historian Douglas Brinkley said it was "a wonderful zinger of a book. Every page sings a story worth a Jimmy Buffett song." Wayne Curtis, writing in the Wall Street Journal, called the book "a romp" and said McKeen had committed "deft storytelling." [2]

In September 2012, McKeen published Homegrown in Florida with the University Press of Florida. McKeen edited the collection about growing up in Florida, and wrote two of the stories in the volume. Other contributors include Michael Connelly, Carl Hiaasen, Tom Petty, Fabiola Santiago, Zora Neale Hurston, Anne V. Hull and many others.

His earlier books include Highway 61 (W.W. Norton, 2003), Rock and Roll is Here to Stay (W.W. Norton, 2000), Literary Journalism (Wadsworth, 2000), Tom Wolfe (Simon & Schuster, 1995) and several earlier books on popular culture. His writing has appeared in Maxim, American History, Holiday, The Saturday Evening Post and many other newspapers and magazines. Before beginning his academic career, he was a newspaper reporter and copy editor in Indiana, Florida and Oklahoma. He was associate editor of The American Spectator and The Saturday Evening Post," where he helped compile The American Story (Curtis, 1975).

McKeen teaches courses on journalism history, literary journalism and rock n' roll and American culture.[1] He earned his bachelor's degree in history and his master's in journalism, both from Indiana University.[1] He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.[1] He taught at Western Kentucky University and the University of Oklahoma before joining the University of Florida faculty in 1986. He taught there until 2010, and chaired the journalism department from 1998 until 2010, before moving to a similar position at Boston University. He was also named to Hunter S. Thompson's Honor Roll in 2003 and cited as one of America's Eight Most-Fun Professors by Playboy magazine in 1993.[citation needed]

He is married to Nicole Cisneros McKeen, a magazine editor, and has seven children: Sarah, Graham and Mary (from his first marriage), and four children still at home, Savannah, Jack, Travis and Charley. They live in an Adirondack cottage in Cohasset, Massachusetts.


  1. ^ a b c d "William McKeen". Boston University College of Communication. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Curtis, Wayne. "Wasting Away Again in Margaritaville". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 8, 2011. 

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