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Biography: Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley is one of America's leading novelists, particularly in the genres of detective fiction and mystery. His reputation is also one of prominence as an African-American writer, particularly as his work encompasses primarily African-American characters and he has taken an active role in the continual struggle for social and literary equality. His detective writing has been compared to that of Raymond Chandler, for its prose, its look at the underbelly of L.A in the middle of the century, and for its heros.


Walter Mosley was born in Los Angeles, California, on January 12th 1952. He grew up the only child of an African American father and a Jewish mother, which has been said to have influenced his writing. Little detail seems to be available about the author's early life aside from his schooling - he graduated from Johnston State College in 1977 - and his numerous and diverse employment history - including computer programmer. He moved to New York City in the early 1980s and studied writing at the City College of New York.

Walter Mosley sold his first book, Devil In A Blue Dress, in 1990 with the help of his teacher's literary agent. It was the first of the Easy Rawlins novels, and earned Walter Mosley excellent reviews. He is exceptionally prolific, and released several more Easy Rawlins novels in quick succession.

Mosley has wrote another detective series following Socrates Fortlaw, and a couple of books with the character Fearless Jones. Mosley has also experimented with afrofuturist science fiction, nonfiction, and young adult fiction. He has written 30 books in total so far, and has had a couple of his stories made into movies or television.

He has won numerous awards, including the Anisfield Wolf Award, which honours works that increase racial understanding and appreciation. He has also won the O'Henry Award, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association's Literary Award, a Grammy Award, a Risktaker Award from the Sundance Institute, and the Carl Brandon Society Parallax Award (he was the first recipient). He has also received an honorary doctorate degree from the City College in New York.

Mosley currently resides in New York, and is currently a professor of English at New York University.


Easy Rawlins mysteries

  • Devil in a Blue Dress (1990)
  • A Red Death (1991)
  • White Butterfly (1992)
  • Black Betty (1994)
  • A Little Yellow Dog (1996)
  • Gone Fishin' (1997)
  • Bad Boy Brawly Brown (2002)
  • Six Easy Pieces (2003)
  • Little Scarlet (2004)
  • Cinnamon Kiss (2005)

Fearless Jones mysteries

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

Science Fiction

  • Blue Light (1998)
  • Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent World (2001)
  • The Wave (2005)

Socrates Fortlow books

For Young Adults

  • 47 (2005)

Other fiction

  • RL's Dream (1995)
  • The Man in My Basement (2004)
  • Walking the Line (2005), a novella in the Transgressions series
  • Fortunate Son (2006)


  • Killing Johnny Fry: A Sexistential Novel (2006)


  • Workin' on the Chain Gang: Shaking off the Dead Hand of History (2000)
  • What Next: An African American Initiative Toward World Peace (2003)
  • Life Out of Context: Which Includes a Proposal for the Non-violent Takeover of the House of Representatives (2006)
  • For Authors, Fragile Ideas Need Loving Every Day
  • This Year You Write Your Novel (2007)

Art book

  • Maximum Fantastic Four (2005)

Films and Television

  • Fallen Angels: Red Wind (1995) (TV)
  • Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)
  • Always Outnumbered (1998) (TV)


Walter Mosley has written within a variety of genres. Currently illiterarty contains Walter Mosley novels in the following genres: