Melda Beaty


Melda is a passionate playwright, author/editor and screenwriter. Her Obama inspired play, Front Porch Society, delves into the complex and connected lives of four elderly black women in rural Mississippi Delta on the eve of the 2008 presidential election.  The play enjoyed a 2017 world premiere at The Ensemble Theatre in Houston, TX to rave reviews and two east coast premieres at New Horizon Theater in Pittsburgh, PA and New African Grove Theatre in Atlanta, GA. A main stage production is scheduled for August 2019 at NBTF (National Black Theatre Festival) in Winston-Salem, NC. Her second play, Coconut Cake was accepted into the New Works Reader's Series at 2017 NBTF, and her third play, Thirty, was developed in WTA's (Women's Theatre Alliance) New Play Development Workshop in Chicago, IL in 2019. In addition, she is the author of a diverse and cathartic compilation of non-fiction writings by black women from across the United States. My Soul to His Spirit: Soulful Expressions from Black Daughters to Their Fathers won the 2006 National Fresh Voices Award. Her debut novel, Lime, is being hailed as “America’s Next Top Model” meets “Burning Bed.” Both books are available on She has also published articles on minority student recruitment and retention in Black Issues in Higher Education and  Illinois Committee on Black Concerns in Higher Education. Melda earned a B.A. in Broadcast Communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.A. in English/Writing at Illinois State University. She is a tenured professor at Olive-Harvey College. In her spare time, she enjoys cardio and strength training, bike riding, live theater, concerts, reading, listening to NPR and hanging out with her three Z’s/daughters.