Profile: Keenan Norris

by Mark Thompson

Keenan Norris joins our English Department as an Assistant Professor in Creative Writing. Coming to us most recently from Evergreen Valley College, Keenan is the author of the novel Brother and the Dancer and By the Lemon Tree, a collection of stories recently published by Nomadic Press. Setting his stories in the Central California countryside and the Southern California desert, Keenan says, “By the Lemon Tree’s old school stories chronicle the collision of wide-eyed childhood with the end of lives human and animal.” His works have appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, Oakland Noir, Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California’s Inland Empire, Abernathy: A Magazine for Black Men, and BOOM: A Journal of California.

Keenan is happily adjusting to San José State, where he will teach Creative Writing and American Literature. “I’m really enjoying my new Spartanhood,” he says. “As long as I’m not given a truncheon and conscripted into battle or sacrificed to the gods, I think this will go well.” Keenan is also glad to be working in San José. He says, “SJSU’s downtown campus environment brings together the elements of research, teaching, and community work right in the heart of one of America’s great cities. I’ve looked forward to working in just such an environment for a long time—now I’m here.” Keenan notes, however, that there is room for improvement. “I have ideas about how to improve parking. Someone should ask me about this.”

Join us in welcoming Keenan to the College of Humanities and the Arts!