Flowers For Algernon
Alice Walker
Contributed by Jennefer Ruano
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Context

Author’s Biography

Daniel Keyes was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1927. As a young man, he served in the US Maritime Service and later received a BA in psychology from Brooklyn College (CUNY). Early in his professional life, Keyes worked as an editor of fiction; he was also employed in the fashion photography industry. He later taught English in the New York City schools and returned to Brooklyn College to earn an MA in English and American Literature. He also taught English and Creative writing courses at Ohio University, where he remains a Professor Emeritus. In 1988 he received the Distinguished Alumnus Medal of Honor from Brooklyn College.

Keyes’ published works include the novels The Touch(1968), about a radiation accident and its human toll; The Fifth Sally (1980), dealing with multiple personality disorder and an attempt to combine a sufferer’s separate personalities into a single personality; and Until Death Do Us Part: The Sleeping Princess (1998), concerned with the issue of mental competency in death penalty cases. His non-fiction works include The Minds of Billy Milligan (1981), which examines the life of a man who suffers from multiple personality disorder and is acquitted of rape and kidnapping charges through an insanity defense; Unveiling Claudia: A True Story of Serial Murder (1986), which explores the story of Claudia Yasko, a woman who claimed to have murdered several individuals; The Milligan Wars (1994), a sequel to The Minds of Billy Milligan; and Algernon, Charlie, and I: A Writer’s Journey (2004), which examines Keyes’ creation of his classic novel.

Of course, Keyes is most noted for Flowers for Algernon (1966). The work was initially published as a novelette in 1959 and won the Hugo award for Best Short Fiction in 1960. Keyes then expanded it into novel length. This version of the story won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1966. In 1968 a film of the novel, titled Charly, was made, starring Cliff Robertson.

Daniel Keyes currently lives with his family in southern Florida, where he continues to write.

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