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Novelist and social commentator Walter Mosley is one of the most powerful and prolific writers working in any genre today. He is the author of more than 40 books, ranging from the crime novel to literary fiction, nonfiction, political essay, young adult, and science fiction. The New York Review of Books called him "a literary master as well as a master of mystery," and The Boston Globe declared him “one of the nation's finest writers."
Mosley’s fiction tracks the African American experience from the migration from the Deep South to post-Obama election-era New York City. His characters are the sorts of "fully formed, complex black men who have been absent from much of contemporary literature,” he says.
Several of Mosley's books have been adapted for film and television, with new projects in development at FX, Cinemax, and HBO. To adapt his works for television and feature films, Mosley teamed up with producer Diane Houslin to create his own production house, Best of Brooklyn Filmhouse. With over a dozen entries, his Easy Rawlins detective series began with Devil in a Blue Dress, which was made into a feature film starring Denzel Washington. His latest Rawlins mystery, Charcoal Joe, was released in June 2016.
His upcoming novel, Down the River Unto the Sea, centers on a former New York City police detective turned Brooklyn PI, and is slated for a February 2018 release.
Of his latest Leonid McGill book, And Sometimes I Wonder About You, The Boston Globe said, "A poignantly real character, [McGill is] not only the newest of the great fictional detectives, but also an incisive and insightful commentator on the American scene.”
Mosley’s nonfiction, such as Folding the Red into the Black; Twelve Steps Toward Political Revelation and Life Out of Context, examines contributions to economic inequality, politics, and justice in America. An editorial board member of The Nation, he conceived “Ten Things,” a monthly feature connecting readers to opportunities for advocacy and activism.
Since 2010 Mosley has written four plays, including The Fall of Heaven, White Lilies, and Lift, and is developing a fifth based on his novel, Devil in a Blue Dress.
The first African-American to serve on the board of directors of the National Book Awards, Mosley has received an O’Henry Award, The Sundance Risktaker Award, a Grammy, and two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Work. In 2016, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual Edgar Awards and was named the first African-American “Grand Master” by the Mystery Writers of America.
Political Optimism in the Age of Trump
For the first time in a long time there is – in the hearts and minds of the people of the United States of America– the will and the potential to become full-fledged Citizens.
Barack Obama’s presidency was an historic one – he was a leader of change and a true friend of the people. But under his tenure, we as citizens became complacent. Even after eight years, there has been little lasting impact on our people, our politics, our bank accounts, or our futures. We have 2.8 million people in prison, most of them people of color, with another 2.8 million released but on the path to recidivism. We are still in Asia and the Middle East fighting wars. We are still struggling for identity, equality, and a place in the world that we can be proud of.
But with the recent election, everything has changed.
Our beautiful republic has awakened from the poisoned sleep of business-as-usual. Our freedom is on the table and it is up to the people to take it. From women’s rights and water rights to economic rights and basic human rights, we are seeing activism everywhere. We are learning our histories. We are campaigning every day, not just once every four years. We are all being pressed – therefore we are all responding. We’re living in an age of optimism, and on the verge of real change. We are waking up.
The threats on our rights force us to protect what we have, and question what is important. We’re cold and hungry and hunted and that means we have to use our hearts and minds, money and bodies to make a world that reflects our sense of that world. This is freedom. This is America.
Race and Justice in America
Untopia: An Exploration of Capitalism, Socialism, and the Pursuit of Happiness
Following his decision to leave his doctoral program in political theory 40 years ago, Walter Mosley began writing novels, infusing his fictional landscapes with the politics of the real world and allowing his characters to speak to the issues he found in society. In this speech, Mosley engages these issues directly, providing both criticism and possible solutions with the same passion, wit, and fury of his novels. Turning his attention toward the two defining economic models of the 20th century, capitalism and socialism, Mosley argues that they do not fit the social habits of humans and that we need to find something new. He calls the answer “Untopia.”
Untopia is more than a critique, it is Mosley’s attempt to say that “that we need to dismantle our misguided beliefs in fairytale-like perfection and allow our conflicted natures to develop a social and political world fit for human habitation.” In “Untopia: An Exploration of Capitalism, Socialism, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” Mosley breaks the philosophy down and builds a new way of looking at the world.
Black Lives Matter
We all inherit and are responsible for our shared history. When prejudices and discriminatory laws bleed from generation to generation, then we have a problem that cries out for resolution. When people march under the banner “Black Lives Matter,” they fight that history. Saying “Black Lives Matter” is the throwing down of the gauntlet — it is loud and brash, daring and challenging.
In this speech, Walter Mosley wants you to consider the fact that the “Black Lives Matter” movement might be working for you as well as for themselves, and that at the end of this glorious, bloody, beautiful, ugly, unimaginable day you may understand that the men and women declaring their value are also treasuring you.
State of the Nation: Today's Cultural Connections & Divides
The state of the world is all in how you look at it. With a keen eye for the poetry and trepidation of the world, author Walter Mosley has filled libraries with stories, essays, and ideas about where the world has been and where it is going. But the present also matters, and in State of the Nation, Mosley divulges where we are at right now, offering his insights into what keeps the society together and what is driving it apart.
Black Male Heroes
This Year You Write Your Novel
Fear can stop your pen in its tracks. But why let it stop you from telling your story? In This Year You Write Your Novel, author Walter Mosley helps you set a course, put pen to paper, and make the most of your year. The path to discovery is before you. It’s time to walk it.
The Only True Race is the Human Race
The world has many different cultures, ideas, colors, and beliefs. And for generations, these differences have created conflict. They keep humanity separated, when really we’re more the same than we are different. With a simple, eloquent message, Walter Mosley has changed the conversation about race, because to him, there is only one: the human race.
From Generation to Generation: Stories of Fathers and Sons
Walter Mosley’s two acclaimed characters, Easy Rawlins and Leonid McGill, do more than solve mysteries. They offer readers a chance to see different time periods of the American landscape. Rawlins, on the beat in the Californian 60s, and McGill, a NY PI in the Clinton 90s, allow Mosley to write about the second half of the 20th century in great detail, giving both his and his father’s generation a voice.