William Melvin Kelley

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William Melvin Kelley (born November 1, 1937) is a prominent African-American novelist and short-story writer. He is known for the novel A Different Drummer. He has won, among other things, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 2008 for Lifetime Achievement. 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 currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.[1]

Kelley was born in New York City and was educated at the Fieldston School in New York and later attended Harvard University (class of 1960),[2] where he won the Dana Reed Prize for creative writing.

According to Robert E. Fleming,[3] "From the beginning of his career in 1962, William Melvin Kelley has employed his distinctive form of Black comedy to examine the absurdities surrounding American racial attitudes."

Personal life[edit]



  1. ^ Contemporary African American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook, Emmanuel S. Nelson, editor. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999, p. 238. See web version (accessed September 16, 2008)
  2. ^ Blacks at Harvard, by Werner Sollors, Caldwell Titcomb, Randall Kennedy, Thomas A. Underwood, NYU Press, 1993, ISBN 0-8147-7973-5, ISBN 978-0-8147-7973-6
  3. ^ excerpted from The Oxford Companion to African American Literature (New York, Oxford University Press, 1997), quoted from aalbc.com (accessed September 16, 2008)

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