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An Uncomfortable Conversation In The Writers’ Room

By: Mark Riechers, ttbook.org

Editor’s note: This story includes language some may find offensive. We’ve chosen to leave Mosley’s direct quotes uncensored here, in the broadcast, and in the podcast version of this interview. For a censored version of this episode, go here. For a censored version of this transcript, read the WPR.org version.

It hadn’t occurred to novelist and screenwriter Walter Mosley that what happened in the writers’ room could find its way into a human resources department memo. But when a polite human resources representative called him on the phone to ask why he’d said the “N-word” during a story meeting, he responded, “I am the N-word in the writers’ room.”

Later, he wrote about his experience in an op-ed for the New York Times.

At that moment, Mosley realized he was done working in that room — the sense of trust between writers was shattered. He quit the job that same day.

“How can I exercise these freedoms when my place of employment tells me that my job is on the line if I say a word that makes somebody, an unknown person, uncomfortable?” Mosley wrote.

Mosley said true and complete freedom of expression is a key feature of American culture. That means that we might be made uncomfortable from time to time, but Mosley argues that those should be moments of discussion and debate, not an occasion to email human resources.

He spoke to Charles Monroe-Kane of “To the Best of Our Knowledge” about what happened after that fateful phone call, and why no one should have dominion over what words we can use. Read the rest of this entry »

Bestselling Crime Writer Walter Mosley Will Teach You How To Write A Story

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – AUGUST 06: Walter Mosley of “Snowfall” speaks during the FX segment of the 2019 Summer TCA Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

A conversation with bestselling writer Walter Mosley about his hard-boiled character Easy Rawlins and a life in crime writing.

Guest

Walter Mosley, American novelist. He has written more than 50 books, including the major bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins. His new book is “Elements of Fiction.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Past Tense: California: State of Change

Photos by Bob Martin for The New York Times

As Seen by The New York Times
November 10, 2018

In California, there were deserts and mountains, vast farmlands and a thousand miles of publicly owned beach. There were people from everywhere and opportunity that only a country like America could offer the working man or woman, and their children, too. From San Francisco to San Diego, from Hollywood to the world, California offered succor, health and, oddly, anonymity. If you didn’t like the view, you moved. If the boss gave you grief, you dropped him.

The sun shone mercilessly, but no one asked for mercy.

Everybody was rich because anything was possible.

Read the entire essay on Past Tense

The 10 Best Crime Novels of 2016

The 10 Best Crime Novels of 2016
Although it wasn’t done by design, this year’s 10 Best Crime Novels fall neatly into various subgenres. So what you’re really getting are my choices for: Best Rural Mystery Set in Mississippi, Best Mystery Featuring a Drug-Addicted Private Eye, Best Historical Mystery Set in the 14th Century and so on.

CHARCOAL JOE. By Walter Mosley. (Doubleday, $26.95.)Mosley’s mellow private eye, Easy Rawlins, is talking his way through another case in this period mystery set in 1968, when black neighborhoods are still seething with rage after the Watts riots. In this heated climate, Easy is . . . well, easy. No furies in his brain, no fires in his gut, just an unquenchable curiosity about people and their obsessions. Favorite characters like Jackson Blue and Fearless Jones provide backup for Easy, an unconventional hero who’s unafraid to lower his fists and use his brain.

(via The New York Times)

Don’t Press the Up Button

by Michael Sommers, The New York Times

With best-selling mysteries like “Devil in a Blue Dress” among his more than three dozen books, Walter Mosley is a master of crime fiction who knows how to put his characters into tight, scary situations. In “Lift,” his new drama of suspense that begins performances on April 10 atCrossroads Theater Company in New Brunswick, the writer traps two strangers within an urban nightmare: Inside a damaged elevator that is stuck high up in a burning skyscraper.

Disturbing undertones of Sept. 11 aside, Mr. Mosley said his dramatic fiction was mostly about revealing the inner lives of the characters who are grappling with such terrors. “They are those average-looking people you see beside you every day who have interesting back stories that you wouldn’t ever suspect,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Brooklyn. Read the rest of this entry »