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National Book Foundation to present Lifetime Achievement Award to Walter Mosley

For Distinguished Contribution to American LettersThe National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, announced that it will award Walter Mosley with the 2020 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL). Mosley has written more than sixty critically acclaimed books across subject, genre, and category. Walter Mosley’s 1990 debut novel Devil in a Blue Dress was the first in the bestselling mystery series featuring detective Easy Rawlins, and launched Mosley into literary prominence. Mosley’s books have been translated into twenty-five languages, and he has won numerous awards, including, but not limited to, an Edgar Award for Down the River Unto the Sea, an O. Henry Award, The Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award, a Grammy®, several NAACP Image awards, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, he was named the recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement from the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. The DCAL will be presented to Mosley by two-time National Book Award Finalist Edwidge Danticat. Read the rest of this entry »

Walter Mosley to receive honorary National Book Award

Walter Mosley

FILE – Author Walter Mosley attends the 2018 National Art Awards in New York on Oct. 22, 2018. Mosley, who is among the most acclaimed crime novelists of his time, is receiving an honorary National Book Award. He will formally receive the medal during a Nov. 18 ceremony that will be held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Walter Mosley is receiving an honorary National Book Award, cited for dozens of books which range from science fiction and erotica to the acclaimed mystery series that has followed the life of Los Angeles private detective Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins. Read the rest of this entry »

The Awkward Black Man

The Awkward Black Man

“In this collection of simple and complex portraits of a wide range of Black men, Mosley…defies the stereotypical images that abound in American culture…present[ing] an array of men in varying circumstances facing racism, obstructed opportunities, and other terrors of modern life, including climate change, natural and manmade disasters, homelessness, urban violence, and failed relationships . . . Master storyteller Mosley has created a beautiful collection about Black men who are, indeed, awkward in their poignant humanity.” —Booklist (starred review) Read the rest of this entry »

Trouble is What I Do

Trouble is What I Do

AmazonB&NYour local bookstore Available: Feb 25, 2020

Morally ambiguous P.I. Leonid McGill is back — and investigating crimes against society’s most downtrodden — in this installment of the beloved detective series from an Edgar Award-winning and bestselling crime novelist.

Leonid McGill’s spent a lifetime building up his reputation in the New York investigative scene. His seemingly infallible instinct and inside knowledge of the crime world make him the ideal man to help when Phillip Worry comes knocking.

Phillip “Catfish” Worry is a 92-year-old Mississippi bluesman who needs Leonid’s help with a simple task: deliver a letter revealing the black lineage of a wealthy heiress and her corrupt father. Unsurprisingly, the opportunity to do a simple favor while shocking the prevailing elite is too much for Leonid to resist.

But when a famed and feared assassin puts a hit on Catfish, Leonid has no choice but to confront the ghost of his own felonious past. Working to protect his client and his own family, Leonid must reach the heiress on the eve of her wedding before her powerful father kills those who hold their family’s secret.

Joined by a team of young and tough aspiring investigators, Leonid must gain the trust of wary socialites, outsmart vengeful thugs, and, above all, serve the truth — no matter the cost.

Walter Mosley on the fantasy of Whiteness and how Dubya was worse than Trump

The award-winning author spoke to Salon about the paucity of writers of color, working with the late John Singleton

Chauncey DeVega,
Salon.com

Walter Mosley (Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)Walter Mosley is one of America’s greatest crime-fiction writers. He is the author of almost 50 books across multiple genres including the bestselling mystery series featuring detective Easy Rawlins. Mosley’s essays on politics and culture have appeared in many leading publications, most notably The New York Times Magazine and The Nation. In September the New York Times featured his widely read op-ed “Why I Quit the Writers’ Room”.

Mosley is also a writer and consulting producer on the FX period crime drama “Snowfall,” which recently wrapped its third season (Seasons 1 and 2 are currently streaming on Hulu) and has been renewed for a fourth.
Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Walter Mosley in Conversation with Legendary Filmmaker Walter Bernstein

Walter Mosley in Conversation with Legendary Filmmaker Walter Bernstein

I’ve known Walter Bernstein for 30 years. In all my adult life I have never met a more intelligent, loving, sensitive, questioning, heroic man. Whether putting his body in the way to block stones hurled at Paul Robeson or marching across nighttime, Nazi-dominated, Yugoslavia to be the first American to interview the insurgent Josep Broz Tito—a hero in his own right. Walter underwent LSD psycho-therapy in the 1960s and wrote some of the most beautiful scenes ever seen on the movie screens that most often lie to us. He interviewed the great Sugar Ray Robinson while riding shotgun in his pink Cadillac and worked closely with the incomparable Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte.

At once Walter is an original and a filial brother in arms. His convictions and beliefs were often dangerous for him and his loved ones. His socialism, for instance. Many of us, maybe all of us, have convictions and beliefs but how many have the courage to stand up for what we believe and behind others who have no choice but to fight? Not many I think. For this reason alone there is greatness to Mr. Bernstein. Read the rest of this entry »

BookRiot’s 8 of the Best Private Detectives in Mystery Series

Charcoal Joe, by Walter Mosley (Doubleday)

EASY RAWLINS

Ezekiel “Easy” Porterhouse Rawlins is an African American World War II veteran turned private detective living in Los Angeles. Starting with author Walter Mosley’s first novel about the detective, Devil in a Blue Dress, the series follows Rawlins as he investigates crimes and navigates the social injustices and race politics of America in the 1940s–’60s. Easy falls into unlicensed private detective work after losing his job at a defense plant. And unlike some other detectives on this list, as an amateur African American private detective, Rawlins is keen to avoid intervention of the police at all costs. In total, Mosley has written 14 novels about the detective, the most recent one being Charcoal Joe in 2016.

(via BookRiot)

Publishers Weekly Review: Elements of Fiction

Elements of Fiction

Walter Mosley. Grove, $23 (128p) ISBN 978-0-8021-4763-9

Drawing on a prolific and successful crime fiction career, Mosley (John Woman) returns to elucidating the author’s craft, after 2007’s This Year You Write Your Novel, in this compact but insight-rich monograph. He addresses plot structure, character development, authorial voice, and the journey from a blank page, the would-be writer’s “first impediment and biggest obstacle,” to the final stage of “putting it all together.” Along the way, Mosley addresses other issues, such as the writer’s sensation of a “loss of control in the face of his or her own story,” and deciding whether or not to enter writing workshops; he warns that “what people, institutions, and economic systems expect should not define you.” Mosley’s fundamental offering, supplemented with some tricks of the trade, is a message of encouragement, as when he addresses the virtue of improvising (“The novel flourishes when its author begins to take risks”) or the value of rewriting (“the beauty of writing that you can go back and make changes that will be everything you meant to say and not one word you didn’t”). Mosley has skillfully packed a large canvas into a small frame, which should equally please readers who enjoy seeing a writer at work and writers in need of assistance. (Sept.)

(via Publishers Weekly)