January 25, 2018

Flotsam & Jetsam: William Melvin Kelley

Sam Smith - In the current New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz has written an article about “The Lost Giant of American Literature,” the late black author, William Melvin Kelley. Bill and I were friends on the staff of WHRB, the Harvard radio station, which among other things was a haven for students who didn’t fit in well with the Harvard view of the world. I graduated magna cum probation but Kelley, writes Schulz, “switched majors four times, failed almost every class but his fiction courses, and dropped out of school one semester shy of graduation.” And instead became a great writer. Which gives me an excuse to publish a photo of Bill and me in the 1950s staging a cover for a jazz record album that would never exist.

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