William Melvin Kelley

(b. 1937)

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New York-born novelist, inspired to write by John Hawkes and Archibald Macleish, his teachers at Harvard, has since become a leading black author. His first novel, A Different Drummer (1962), is a mythic tale of a black sharecropper who in destroying his farm and discarding his heritage inspires others to seek a better future. Later fiction includes A Drop of Patience (1965), about a blind black jazz musician who turns to his people's evangelical religion; dem (1967), a satirical and sometimes surrealistic story of a white Madison Avenue advertising executive as he searches for the father of the black baby to which his wife has given birth; and Dunfords Travels Everywhere (1970), contrasting a Harvard-educated black in France and a Harlem Swindler. Dancers on the Shore (1964) collects stories.

Subjects: Literature.

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