Flowers for Algernon

Flowers for Algernon Study Guide

Flowers for Algernon was originally published as a short story in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It won the Hugo Award for Best Short Fiction, the highest prize for a short story in the science fiction field. Keyes says that the story was inspired by the experiences he had teaching English to special needs students, with a particular incident taking place in 1957. One student asked him if he could be “put into a regular class” if he worked hard enough to become smart. Keyes then rewrote the story into a novel, adding story threads and expanded development progress reports, and published the story under the same title as a novel in 1966. The novel went on to win the Nebula Award that year, the highest prize for a novel in the science fiction field. Flowers for Algernon has been praised for its “nearly perfect” story arc in any recent fiction. It has never gone out of print since its publication. It is also known for its adaptability into various media. It was made into the film “Charly” in 1968, for which lead actor Cliff Robertson won an Academy Award for Best Actor. It has also been made into several TV adaptations. In 2000, Keyes wrote Algernon, Charlie and I: A Writer’s Journey as a memoir, revisiting his beloved classic.