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Walter Mosley biography

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Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley

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 Essence.

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 early praise.

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.



Partial Bibliography

Easy Rawlins
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)


Socrates Fortlow
Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (1997)
Walkin' the Dog (1999)

Fearless Jones
Fearless Jones (2001)
Fear Itself (2003)
Fear of the Dark (2006)

Stand-Alone Novels
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)
Diablerie (2008)
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey (2010

Link to Walter's website

This biography was last updated on 08/02/2011.

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Interview

Walter Mosley Talks About 47

Among the various members of this audience there are many, many historical cultures represented. Irish Catholics, Russians, Chinese. There might be some Scandinavians or English, Japanese or Mexicans. For every group there's a culture and a history. Some of you might be well versed in the history of your people or your particular family trees. But even if the specifics of your cultural and historical heritage are not at your fingertips you know that they exist: you could call a family member or a take a class in the language that your ancestors spoke. You could get into a plane and fly to the country of your forbears' birth and find out where you came from and what impact your culture has had on the world.

Most of you take these truths for granted. Yes I'm Irish, Jewish, Norwegian, French. Now and then you see a movie like Braveheart or Mozart and have a moment of nostalgic realization. Maybe you descend from some great scientist or warlord. Maybe your great, great grandfather witnessed some important historical event.

If you're like most modern day folks you don't think about it all that much. You live today in this world. You work and love, raise children and vote...

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Books by this Author

Books by Walter Mosley at BookBrowse
Little Green jacket All I Did Was Shoot My Man jacket When the Thrill Is Gone jacket The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Walter Mosley but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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    Reed Arvin grew up on a working cattle ranch in Kansas. He studied music in college, became a successful session musician and record producer, and toured the world with a variety of artists. He now writes full time. His first... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
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  • Austin Aslan

    Austin Aslan

    Austin Aslan was inspired to write his debut novel, The Islands at the End of the World, while living on the Big Island of Hawaii. He earned a master's degree in tropical conservation biology at the University of Hawaii ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    47

    Try:
    The Islands at the End of the World
    by Austin Aslan

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