William Melvin Kelley 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.
Kelley was born in New York City and was educated at the Fieldston School in New York and later attended Harvard University, where he won the Dana Reed Prize for creative writing.
According to Robert E. Fleming, "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."