elda Beaty: Playwright, author and college English professor, she is the “one to watch,” in her industry. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Melda resides in Chicago, Illinois with her three gifted and beautiful daughters.
Melda is a passionate playwright. Her first 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. What is the significance of our country’s first Black president to women who have lived through Jim Crow, The Civil Rights Act, and the senseless killings of Black boys? The play enjoyed a world premiere at The Ensemble Theatre in Houston, TX (2017), and most recently, a mainstage production at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC (2019). The play is traveling across the country gathering rave reviews. Her second play, Coconut Cake, was accepted into the New Works Reader’s Series at the 2017 National Black Theatre Festival and had a 2017 staged reading during ReadFest in Houston, TX. Her most recent stage play, Thirty, is an explosive look at a generation of Black women trying to make sense of family secrets. Melda was commissioned by The Ensemble Theatre for their 2021-2022 season. Her upcoming short film, Cupcake, chronicles the divide mental illness creates between a mother and her daughter.
In addition, Melda is an author of two books and freelance contributor to Black Masks magazine. Her first book, My Soul to His Spirit: Soulful Expressions from Black Daughters to Their Fathers won the 2006 National Fresh Voices Award. It is a diverse and cathartic compilation of non-fiction writings by black women from across the United States. Her debut novel, Lime, is hailed as “America’s Next Top Model” meets “Burning Bed.” Both books are available on Amazon.com.
Melda earned a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.A. in English at Illinois State University. Today, she is a tenured professor at Olive-Harvey College. In her spare time, Melda enjoys cardio and strength training, spin classes, live theater, concerts, traveling, and hanging out with her three Z’s/daughters.