- Title Chair, Department of Journalism
- Additional Titles Professor, Journalism
- Office Room 131
- Education BA, MA, Indiana University
PhD, University of Oklahoma
William McKeen is the author of eight books and the editor of four more, including Mile Marker Zero (Crown, 2011), a non-fiction narrative about Key West; Outlaw Journalist (W.W. Norton, 2008), a biography of Hunter S. Thompson; Highway 61 (W.W. Norton, 2003), a memoir of a 6,000-mile road trip with his teenage son; and two anthologies, Rock and Roll is Here to Stay (W. W. Norton, 2000) and Literary Journalism: A Reader (Wadsworth, 2000).
His most recent book is Everybody Had an Ocean (Chicago Review Press, 2017), about the intersection of music and crime in Los Angeles during the 1960s. It focuses on how Charles Manson was able to infiltrate the peace-love-and-flowers world of rock’n’roll royalty in Laurel Canyon, becoming a roommate to Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. Neil Young even recommended Manson to the president of Warner Bros Records. Though somewhat taken aback by Manson’s forceful manner, Young thought he might have a future as a rock star. Nothing came of that recommendation, one of the things that infuriated Manson. Author Michael Connelly called the book “righteously good” and Carl Hiaasen said, “Few novelists could dream up such a plot.”
McKeen also produced an anthology about Florida, where he spent most of his life. Homegrown in Florida (University Press of Florida, 2012) celebrates childhood in the Sunshine State. In addition to writing two stories in the collection, McKeen gathered contributions from Carl Hiaasen, Michael Connelly, Kristin Harmel, Fabiola Santiago and Tom Petty.
Before beginning his teaching career, he worked for several newspapers and magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post, The American Spectator, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.), The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post and The Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times.
His writing has appeared in Holiday, American History, Maxim, the Saturday Evening Post and many other newspapers and magazines. He has appeared on “The Today Show,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” “The CBS Evening News” and many other news programs.
His major teaching areas are literary journalism, history of journalism, reporting, feature writing and history of rock’n’roll.