Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Kelly Daniels  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;


-- Website --
-- Kelly Daniels on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Daniels lives with his wife and young son in Rock Island, Illinois, where he teaches creative writing at Augustana College.

Biographical and Professional Information

Kelly Daniels has traveled extensively. He has held many jobs over the years including a production manager of a furniture factory in Guatemala, newspaper reporter in Mexico and bartender in numerous places.His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in ''Puerto del Sol'', ''Cimarron Review'', ''Third Coast'', ''Sonora Review'', ''South Dakota Review'', ''Santa Clara Review'', ''GSU Review'', ''Orange Coast Review'', ''Eyeshot'' and other journals.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Cloudbreak, California
ISBN: 0983476454

Owl Canyon Press. 2013

Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. One day during his ninth-grade Speech class Kelly Daniels's outlaw, soul-surfer father appears at school unannounced and pulls the boy from class. Speeding down the freeway, Daniels's father admits that he has been involved in a crime, but he does not remember how it happened. He'd been up for days on cocaine and booze, he explains, and the next thing he knew he woke up in jail with a bad feeling. It was almost a relief when the guard told him he'd killed his cousin Barkley, a drug kingpin of sorts. "I'm sorry to lay this on you," he tells the stunned boy, "but I'm not going to be around to watch your back. Barkley has a son your age...and this kid might come after you someday. You're going to have to learn to look after yourself." A few days later, the father skips bail and flees the country. "Forget about him," everybody says. But the boy doesn't forget. Someday, he believes, they'll find each other, the fugitive father and the dreamy son, and together they'll surf perfect, faraway waves.

"Daniels more or less raised himself, as the son of Christian cultists fallen on hard times in the California desert in the 1970s.... [H]e writes about those years of poverty and lost wandering with a nuanced objectivity that is wise as only very good writers can be wise: He draws beauty out of humiliation and fear with the precision and evocative power of his language and the relentlessness of his gaze."—Jaimy Gordon

"In [his work] you'll encounter a writer of dynamic prose, of expertly modulated sentences, and pitch perfect, often hilarious dialogue a writer with a haunting sense of atmosphere, and considerable narrative invention."—Stuart Dybek


Among other awards, he recently won first prize in Creative Nonfiction at the San Miguel Writers' Conference.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)


Sheryl Johnston (773)



Keith Waters Owl Canyon Press 621 Pleasant Street Boulder, CO 80302 (720)



Ingram Book Company (615)