Daniel Keyes was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1927. He joined the U.S. Maritime Service at the age of 17 and became a ship's purser. Upon returning home, he resumed his education at Brooklyn College (now CUNY), where he received his B.A. degree in psychology. Keyes also earned a license to teach English in New York City schools. It was while working as a high school English teacher that he wrote the short story, "Flowers for Algernon", which was later expanded into a full-length novel.
Keyes returned to Brooklyn College to study English and American literature, successfully earning his M.A. degree. In 1966, he joined the faculty of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, as Professor of English and Creative Writing. In 1988, Brooklyn College presented Keyes with the Distinguished Alumnus Medal of Honor. In 2000, he was honored with Professor Emeritus status at Ohio University. Keyes died on June 15, 2014, at his home in Florida.
Daniel Keyes is the author of eight other books: The Touch; The Fifth Sally; The Minds of Billy Milligan; The Milligan Wars: A True Sequel; Unveiling Claudia; Until Death . . .; Algernon, Charlie and I: A Writer's Journey; and The Asylum Prophecies.