The West Virginia University Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has named Associate Professor of English Katy Ryan as the 2014 recipient of the Neil S. Bucklew Award.

This award is traditionally bestowed on the individual who has best demonstrated outstanding leadership, courage, and support on a continuous basis in the area of social justice, but now also includes an emphasis on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. More information about this award is available at

Ryan founded the Appalachian Prison Book Project, a nonprofit organization that sends free books to women and men imprisoned in six states: West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, and Tennessee. Since 2004, the project’s members have responded to individual letters from imprisoned women and men, and mailed over 13,000 books.

Her research focuses on matters of justice and human rights in 20th-century American literature. She edited a collection of creative and critical writings on the death penalty, Demands of the Dead: Executions, Storytelling, and Activism (University of Iowa, 2012). Her essays appear in American Literature, African American Literature, Studies in the Novel, Philosophy and Literature, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, and the collection Political and Protest Theatre After 9/11: Patriotic Dissent.

In April, she is co-organizing the Educational Justice & Appalachian Prisons Symposium at WVU, an event that will bring together imprisoned and formerly imprisoned people, community members, activists, scholars, judges, and prison officials to discuss the liberating potential of education.



CONTACT: Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.