Walter Mosley Biography
Walter Mosley's books have been translated into at least
twenty-one languages. His popular mysteries featuring Easy Rawlins and his
friend Raymond "Mouse" Alexander began with Devil in a Blue Dress.
It was published by W.W. Norton in 1990, and was nominated for an Edgar. The
TriStar film, "Devil in a Blue Dress," produced by Jonathan Demme,
directed by Carl Franklin, and starring Denzel Washington and Jennifer Beals was
released in the fall of 1995 and garnered critical acclaim and many awards.
Others in the series, A Red Death and White Butterfly were also
nominated for several awards. Black Betty and A Little Yellow Dog
were New York Times bestsellers.
The independent Black Classic Press located in Baltimore, Maryland published
the prequel to the Rawlins' series in January 1997. Mosley decided to give a
novel to a small black publishing house, because he felt it was important
"to create a model that other writers, black or not, can look at to see
that it's possible to publish a book successfully outside mainstream publishing
in New York." Gone Fishin' was published in paperback by Pocket in
January 1998. Audio rights went to Dove Audio and the first serial was sold to
W.W. Norton published Mosley's blues novel, RL's Dream in 1995 to
critical acclaim. It was a finalist for the NAACP Award in Fiction and won the
1996 Black Caucus of the American Library Association's Literary Award.
Washington Square Press published the book in paperback. In the fall of 1997,
Mosley introduced a new character, ex-con Socrates Fortlow, whose move to
contemporary Los Angeles infuses the episodic tales with ethical and political
considerations. W.W. Norton published Always Outnumbered, Always
Outgunned: The Socrates Fortlow Stories, excerpts from which have been
published in Esquire, GQ, USA Weekend, Buzz, and Mary Higgins Clark Mystery
Magazine. One of these new stories was an O'Henry Award winner for 1996 and is
featured in Prize Stories 1996: The O'Henry Awards edited by William Abraham.
The collection of stories was made into an HBO/NYC and Palomar Pictures film,
starring Laurence Fishburne, Natalie Cole, Cicely Tyson and Bill Cobbs. The
feature, directed by Michael Apted ("Gorillas in the Mist") had a
screenplay written by Mosley and premiered on HBO on March 21, 1998. The book
was also awarded the Anisfield Wolf Award, an honor given to works that increase
the appreciation and understanding of race in America.
Little Brown & Company published the next installment in the life of
Socrates Fortlow, Walkin' The Dog in the fall of 1999. HBO once again
commissioned a Mosley screenplay to be based on this new collection. Little
Brown & Company also published Mosley's first science fiction novel, Blue
Light in November 1998. The book was on The Los Angeles Times and San
Francisco Chronicle bestseller lists and won accolades for its daring invention
and vision. He was also awarded the TransAfrica International Literary Prize
this same season for all of his work. In the winter of 2000, Mosley joined the
list of luminaries writing for The Library of Contemporary Thought,
published by Ballantine Books. His work, "Workin' on the Chain Gang"
used the perspective of race history to examine the American economic and
political machine. This year, The New York Times included Mosley's contribution
to the newspaper's series, "Writers on Writing," in their book
publication of those columns.
In 1996 Mosley was named the first Artist-in-Residence, at the Africana
Studies Institute, New York University. Since that residency, he has continued
to work with the department, creating an innovative lecture series entitled
"Black Genius" which brings diverse speakers from art, politics and
academe to discuss practical solutions to contemporary issues. Designed as a
"public classroom" these lectures have included speakers ranging from
Spike Lee to Angela Davis. In February 1999, W.W. Norton published the
collection as Black Genius, with a Mosley introduction and essay.
His short fiction has been published in a wide array of publications
including The New Yorker, GQ, Esquire, USA Weekend, Los Angeles Times Magazine
and Savoy. For the latter, Mosley is publishing a story a month for the
magazine's 2001 launch year. The series is called "The Tempest Tales"
in homage to Langston Hughes' "Simple Stories." The American Society
of Magazine Editors has honored a story he published in GQ, "The Black
Woman in the Chinese Hat," in 2000; GQ is a finalist in the fiction
category for the award.
In 2001 Mosley returned to the mystery world with the debut of the 'Fearless Jones' series, set in
1950's Los Angeles and introducing second-hand bookstore owner Paris Minton and
his best friend, war veteran Fearless Jones, the novel is already garnering
Mosley created with the City University of New York (CUNY) a new publishing
certificate program aimed at young urban residents. It is the only such program
in the country. Mosley also serves on the board of directors of the National
Book Awards, The Poetry Society of America, and is past-president of the Mystery
Writers of America. He lives in New York City.
Devil in a Blue Dress (1990)
A Red Death (1991)
White Butterfly (1992)
Black Betty (1994)
A Little Yellow Dog (1995)
Gone Fishin' (1996)
Bad Boy Brawly Brown (2000)
Six Easy Pieces (2003)
Little Scarlet (2004)
Cinnamon Kiss (2005)
Blonde Faith (2007)
Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (1997)
Walkin' the Dog (1999)
Fearless Jones (2001)
Fear Itself (2003)
Fear of the Dark (2006)
RL's Dream (1995)
Blue Light (1998)
The Greatest (2000)
Whispers in the Dark (2000)
The Man in My Basement (2004)
47 (children - 2005)
The Wave (sci-fi, 2006)
Fortunate Son (2006)
Killing Johnny Fry (2006)
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey (2010
This biography was last updated on 08/02/2011.
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