A Different Drummer (novel)
A Different Drummer is the 1962 debut novel of William Melvin Kelley. It won the John Hay Whitney Foundation Award and Rosenthal Foundation Award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. The title comes from Henry David Thoreau: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer..."
Published at the peak of the civil rights movement, the story outlines an imagined day when the entire black population of a small town in the southern US decide to pack up, destroy their belongings, and leave. The "different drummer" is represented by a young African American man called Tucker Caliban, who salts his farmland, burns down his house, then leads the exodus.
The book contains 11 chapters, and the narrative is often told from the viewpoint of the town's white inhabitants.
- Emmanuel Sampath Nelson Contemporary African American Novelists 0313305013 - 1999 "William Melvin Kelley has been a writer in residence at the State University of New York at Geneseo and has taught at the New School for Social Research. He has also been a freelance writer. He won fellowships to the New York Writers' Conference and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference as well as receiving the John Hay Whitney Foundation Award and Rosenthal Foundation Award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters for his first novel, A Different Drummer.
- William L. Andrews - African American Literature: Voices in a Tradition - 1992 Page 519 0030474248 About the Author William Melvin Kelley (b. 1937) Early in his career, William Melvin Kelley wrote: "I am not a sociologist or a politician or a spokesman. Such people try to give answers. A writer, I think, should ask questions. He should depict people, not symbols or ideas disguised ... Kelley's first novel, A Different Drummer, was published in 1962, when he was twenty-five. The title emphasizes the importance of individuality in Kelley's work. It comes from the famous lines of Henry David Thoreau: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer....
- Hughes, Sarah (27 October 2018). "Lost literary masterpiece of 1960s black America comes to UK". the Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
- "BBC Radio 3 - Arts & Ideas, Slavery Stories". BBC. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
- Gilmartin, Sarah. "A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley: The new 'Stoner'?". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2019-01-09.