Junkie is a semi-autobiographical novel by William S. Burroughs. First published in 1953 (Ace Books), it was Burroughs’ first published novel and has come to be considered a seminal text on the lifestyle of heroin addicts in the early 1950s. The book has also been published under the name Junky.
The novel was considered unpublishable more than it was controversial. Burroughs began it largely at the request and insistence of Allen Ginsberg, who was impressed by Burroughs’s letter writing skill. Burroughs took up the task with very little enthusiasm. However, he did realize that being a published author was in the realm of possibility after his friend Jack Kerouac had his first novel published in 1950. William S. Burroughs began to compile his experiences as an addict and small-time heroin pusher in Greenwich Village.
This film features a passage from the book Junkie as read by the author, William S. Burroughs. His distinctive voice and his peculiar outlook on life is on full display in this reading from his book.