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Keeble was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and raised in Saskatchewan until his parents moved the family to California. The son of a minister, Keeble holds dual Canadian and U.S. citizenships. He attended the University of Redlands (Bachelor of Arts, "magna cum laude", 1966), and the University of Iowa (Master of Fine Arts, l969.) Additionally he attended Brown University for one year (1971/72). He began adult life as a musician, but turned seriously to writing while at the University of Iowa. He has worked as an educator, having taught at Grinnell College (1969-72) and Eastern Washington University (1973-2002). He is presently Professor emeritus at Eastern Washington University, has been Distinguished Visiting Writer at Boise State University (Spring 2006), and on three occasions held the Coal Royalty Trust Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama (Fall Semesters 1992, 1998, 2002). He also served at the University of Alabama as a Visiting Professor one additional full year (1995/96). He is a longtime resident of Eastern Washington State where he and his wife, Claire, a musician, built their log house, raised their three sons, and continue to operate a small farm. They have three grandchildren.

Keeble's short stories, interviews, and essays on political and ecological topics have appeared in a wide variety of journals and anthologies, most recently in Idaho Review and Harper's Magazine. His story, "The Chasm," was selected for Best American Short Stories in 1994 and the story, "Synchronicity" appeared in The O.Henry Prize Stories in 2019. He has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and a Washington State Governor's Award. In 1993, he received a Northwest Regional Emmy Award nomination for To Write and Keep Kind, a film on the life of Raymond Carver which aired on the Public Broadcasting System.