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Walter Mosley

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Walter Mosley


Walter Mosley January 12 Walter Mosley Jewish Currents

Full Name
Walter Ellis Mosley

January 12, 1952 (age 72) (
Los Angeles, California

Joy Kellman (1987–2001)

Devil in a Blue Dress, Always Outnumbered

NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction

Johnson State College, Goddard College

Edgar Award for Best Novel, Hammett Prize

Devil in a Blue Dress, Little Green, The Long Fall, Always Outnumbered - Always O, Fearless Jones

Similar People
Dashiell Hammett, Carl Franklin, Chester Himes, Raymond Chandler, Donald E Westlake


Extended Conversation: Novelist Walter Mosley

Walter Ellis Mosley (born January 12, 1952) is an American novelist, most widely recognized for his crime fiction. He has written a series of best-selling historical mysteries featuring the hard-boiled detective Easy Rawlins, a black private investigator and World War II veteran living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles; they are perhaps his most popular works.


Walter Mosley Liberty Hill Foundation to honor Walter Mosley Jacket

Walter mosley 2015 national book festival

Personal life

Walter Mosley Bestselling Novelist Walter Mosley on Jewish LA and

Mosley was born in California. His mother, Ella (née Slatkin), was Jewish and worked as a personnel clerk; her ancestors had immigrated from Russia. His father, Leroy Mosley (1924–1993), was an African American from Louisiana who was a supervising custodian at a Los Angeles public school. He had worked as a clerk in the segregated US army during the Second World War. His parents tried to marry in 1951 but, though the union was legal in California where they were living, no one would give them a marriage license.

Walter Mosley httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

He was an only child and ascribes his writing imagination to "an emptiness in my childhood that I filled up with fantasies". For $9.50 a week, Walter Mosley attended the Victory Baptist day school, a private African-American elementary school that held pioneering classes in black history. When he was 12, his parents moved from South Central to more comfortably affluent, working-class west LA. He graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School in 1970. Mosley describes his father as a deep thinker and storyteller, a "black Socrates". His mother encouraged him to read European classics from Dickens and Zola to Camus. He also loves Langston Hughes and Gabriel García Márquez. He was largely raised in a non-political family culture, although there were racial conflicts flaring throughout L.A. at the time. He later became more highly politicised and outspoken about racial inequalities in the US, which are a context of much of his fiction.

Walter Mosley Review Riding with Easy Rawlins in Walter Mosley39s 39Rose

He went through a "long-haired hippie" phase, drifting around Santa Cruz and Europe. Mosley dropped out of Goddard College, a liberal arts college in Plainfield, Vermont, and then earned a political science degree at Johnson State College. Abandoning a doctorate in political theory, he started work programming computers. He moved to New York in 1981 and met the dancer and choreographer Joy Kellman, whom he married in 1987. They separated 10 years later and were divorced in 2001. While working for Mobil Oil, Mosley took a writing course at City College in Harlem after being inspired by Alice Walker's book, The Color Purple. One of his tutors there, Edna O'Brien, became a mentor to him and encouraged him, saying: "You're Black, Jewish, with a poor upbringing; there are riches therein."

Walter Mosley Book Launch Little Green by Walter Mosley THE

Mosley still resides in New York City.

Walter Mosley Walter Mosley Talks Deals w HBO NBC TNT Adapting quotLeo

Mosley says that he identifies as both African-American and Jewish, with strong feelings for both groups.


Walter Mosley 911 Time for a new Black Power movement Books The

Mosley started writing at 34 and has written every day since, penning more than forty books and often publishing two books a year. He has written in a variety of fiction categories, including mystery and afrofuturist science fiction, as well as non-fiction politics. His work has been translated into 21 languages. His direct inspirations include the detective fiction of Dashiell Hammett, Graham Greene and Raymond Chandler. Mosley's fame increased in 1992 when then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton, a fan of murder mysteries, named Mosley as one of his favorite authors. Mosley made publishing history in 1997 by foregoing an advance to give the manuscript of Gone Fishin' to a small, independent publisher, Black Classic Press in Baltimore, run by former Black Panther Paul Coates.

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His first published book, Devil in a Blue Dress, was the basis of a 1995 movie starring Denzel Washington. The world premiere of his first play, The Fall of Heaven was staged at the Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati, Ohio, in January, 2010.

Walter Mosley Walter Mosley The Author That Created Easy Rawlings

Mosley has served on the board of directors of the National Book Awards.

Mosley is on the board of the TransAfrica Forum.

In 2010, there was a debate in academic literary circles as to whether Mosley's work should be considered Jewish literature. Similar debate has occurred as to whether he should be described as a black author, given his status as a best-selling writer. Mosley has said that he prefers to be called a novelist. He explains his desire to write about "black male heroes" saying "hardly anybody in America has written about black male heroes... There are black male protagonists and black male supporting characters, but nobody else writes about black male heroes."

Legacy and honors

  • Anisfield Wolf Award, for works that increase the appreciation and understanding of race in America.
  • 1996 – Black Caucus of the American Library Association's Literary Award for RL's Dream
  • 1996 – O. Henry Award for a Socrates Fortlow story.
  • 2001 – Grammy Award for Best Album Notes for Richard Pryor's …And It's Deep Too!
  • 2005 – "Risktaker Award" from the Sundance Institute for both his creative and activist efforts.
  • 2006 – First recipient of the Carl Brandon Society Parallax Award for his young adult novel 47.
  • 2007– NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction, "Blonde Faith".
  • 2009– NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction, "The Long Fall".
  • 2013 – Inducted into the New York Writers Hall of Fame.
  • Mosley was awarded an honorary doctorate from the City College of New York.
  • 2014– NAACP Image Award-nominated for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction, "Little Green: An Easy Rawlins Mystery."
  • 2016 – Named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America (see Edgar Award).
  • Films and television

  • Fallen Angels: Fearless (1995) (TV)
  • Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)
  • Always Outnumbered (1998) (TV)
  • "Little Brother", episode of Masters of Science Fiction (2007) (TV)
  • Criticism and scholarship

  • Berger, Roger A., "‘The Black Dick’: Race, Sexuality, and Discourse in the L.A. Novels of Walter Mosley", in African American Review 31 (Summer 1997): 281–94.
  • Berrettini, Mark, "Private Knowledge, Public Space: Investigation and Navigation in Devil in a Blue Dress", in Cinema Journal 39 (Fall 1999): 74–89.
  • Fine, David, ed., Los Angeles in Fiction: A Collection of Essays from James M. Cain to Walter Mosley (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 1995).
  • Frieburger, William, "James Ellroy, Walter Mosley, and the Politics of the Los Angeles Crime Novel", in Clues: A Journal of Detection 17 (Fall–Winter 1996): 87–104.
  • Gruesser, John C., "An Un-Easy Relationship: Walter Mosley's Signifyin(g) Detective and the Black Community," in Confluences: Postcolonialism, African American Literary Studies, and the Black Atlantic (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2007), 58–72.
  • Lennard, John, Walter Mosley, Devil in a Blue Dress (Tirril: Humanities-Ebooks, 2007 [Genre Fiction Sightlines]).
  • Wesley, Marilyn C., "Power and Knowledge in Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress", in African American Review 35 (Spring 2001): 103–16.
  • Wilson, Charles E., Jr., Walter Mosley: A Critical Companion (Westport, CT, & London: Greenwood Press, 2003 [Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers])
  • References

    Walter Mosley Wikipedia