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Audio Interview of Daniel Keyes

Daniel Keyes
Daniel Keyes, author of the classic novel, Flowers for Algernon, talks to Wired for Books about his new book, Algernon, Charlie and I: A Writer's Journey, his career as a writer, and the advances in biomedical research that are turning his science fiction into science fact.

Winner of science fiction's highest honors, the Hugo and Nebula Awards, Keyes' Flowers for Algernon continues to reward readers worldwide with the story of mentally handicapped Charlie Gordon, who undergoes experimental surgery to raise his intelligence.

Over five million copies of Flowers for Algernon have been sold and it has been translated into twenty-seven languages. The book has inspired numerous television and radio adaptations, two movies (Cliff Robertson won an Oscar for his performance in the 1968 film, Charley), a Broadway musical, and several audio book versions, including an audio book narrated by the author.

Listen to the Daniel Keyes interview
with David Kurz and Connie Stevens

Daniel Keyes, in this interview with Connie Stevens and David Kurz, shares his forty-plus years' experience as a writer and talks about the turning points in his career. Keyes tells of his days as a high school teacher for slow learners and an unforgettable moment in the classroom that sparked the idea for Flowers for Algernon.

Trained as a psychologist, Keyes would later turn his attention to real-life psychological dramas. The Minds of Billy Milligan documents the true story of William Milligan, who would become the first person acquitted of a major crime due to twenty-four multiple personalities. A movie, The Crowded Room, based on the Milligan book, is in the works. A sequel, The Milligan Wars, is scheduled to be published in the United States when the movie is released.

Now, scientists at Princeton University have produced a smarter mouse through genetic surgery, like the mouse Algernon in the novel. Listen as Keyes relates his conversations with the scientists that are making his classic novel a reality.

"Seldom has an author of a 20th Century Classic taken us behind the screen of creation with as much candor as Daniel Keyes has in this new book. For the more than eight million people who've read Flowers for Algernon, here is a wonderfully nostalgic trip, eavesdropping on the writer's life in the act of discovery. Algernon, Charlie and I should also be read by every would-be-successful writer eager for behind-the-scenes insight into the writing life's luck, skill, pain, hope, and of the misadventures and final triumph of creating a classic work."
--Sol Stein - Formerly of Stein and Day Publishers, Author of Stein on Writing.

"["Flowers for Algernon"] has often been cited as having one of the most perfect and perfectly-controlled narrative arcs in the entire history of the short story, and its career as one of the genre's great multimedia properties is equally impressive; it has been adapted in more ways and over a longer period of time than any other modern SF work...Algernon, Charlie and I makes it clear that Keyes, like vast numbers of his readers, has haunted by Charlie for so long that he needs some kind of closure, if not exorcism. This book may not accomplish that, but it offers a fascinating glimpse into how a lifetime of experiences was distilled into a single classic novella, and along the way offers a substantial number of insights into the craft and art of fiction.
--Gary K. Wolfe- Locus Magazine

Daniel Keyes Home Page

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