In the season finale of Marvel’s Voices, Angélique talks to legendary crime-fiction and mystery writer Walter Mosley about his love for the Fantastic Four and about writing Ben Grimm in his current six-issue series THE THING.
From the Archives: bell hooks and Walter Mosley in 1995
City Arts & Lectures
This week, we celebrate the life and work of trailblazing poet, feminist, and cultural critic, bell hooks. bell hooks changed the course of feminism, demanding that the voices of women of color, queer women, and working-class women be included at a time when feminism was seen as a white middle-class movement. Her more than three dozen books, include collections of poetry and essays, and her groundbreaking 1981 book Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. bell hooks died at her home in Kentucky on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. She was 69 years old. In this wide-ranging conversation recorded in San Francisco in 1995, bell hooks spoke to Walter Mosley––novelist best known for his historically based crime and mystery fiction including Devil in a Blue Dress, Black Betty, and White Butterfly––about the power of language, about racism and sexism in America, the importance of discourse and more.
How Bestselling Crime Novelist Walter Mosley Writes
The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience
#PodcastersForJustice Celebrated author, Walter Mosley, took a timeout to chat with me about how he didn't write a sentence he liked until age 35, the sprawling muse of Los Angeles, and his conflicted feelings after winning a big National Book Award. “Write your truth, and believe in it. And if your mother doesn’t like it ... too bad.” – Walter Mosley Walter is the first Black man to receive the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters for lifetime achievement in writing. The critically acclaimed author, playwright, screenwriter, and producer has written over 60 books including fiction (literary, mystery, and science fiction), writing guides, memoir, a YA novel, has won dozens of prestigious awards (including an Emmy), and been translated into 25 languages. His bestselling historical mysteries feature infamous, hard-boiled detective "Easy" Rawlins, a black PI living in the Watts neighborhood of LA. Blood Grove (Easy Rawlins Book 15) is the latest in that series and described as "... a novel of vast scope and intimate insight, and a soulful call for justice by any means necessary." Walter's work has also been adapted for film and TV including Devil in a Blue Dress (starring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle and Jennifer Beals) and the HBO production of Always Outnumbered (starring Laurence Fishburne and Natalie Cole). Stay calm and write on ... Discover The Writer Files Extra You can now have The Writer Files podcast dropped right into your email inbox every time there’s a new show. No more shaking your podcast app! As a subscriber, Kelton will send you added insights, the chance to get TWF merch (like "Stay Calm and Write On" t-shirts anyone?), curated collections of shows like The Publishing Series and The Writer’s Brain, updates, and occasional special offers. Learn more at the link below and take our AuthorPods podcasting course survey. Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox Preview a sample of a podcast at the break from this week's sponsor Look Closer: The Found Fiction Podcast, more at foundfiction.org. If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please "Follow" us to automatically see new interviews. In this file Walter Mosley and I discussed: His winding career path How the apex of post-hippie Los Angeles, California affected his writing What it was like to work with the late, Oscar-nominated filmmaker John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood) Why you need to read your drafts out loud And more! Show Notes: WalterMosley.com Blood Grove (Easy Rawlins Book 15) by Walter Mosley (Amazon) Walter Mosley Amazon author page Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology: A Library of America Special Publication (Amazon) Roger Zelazny Amazon author page Walter Mosley on Facebook Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Easy Rawlins is a tough and hard-boiled as any detective in the mystery genre. He has been asked by a Viet Nam vet to look into a possible murder in a southern California orange grove.I would have turned him down out of hand if it weren’t for my understanding of the America I both love and loathe.In America everything is about either race or money or some combination of the two., Who you are, what you have, what you look like, where your people came from, and what god looked over their breed--these were the most important questions. Added into that is the race of men and the race of women. The rich, famous, and powerful believe they have a race and the poor know for a fact that they do. The thing about it is that most people have more than one race. White people have Italian, Germans, Irish, Poles, English, Scots, Portuguese, Russian, old-world Spaniard, new-world rich, and many combination thereof. Black people have a color scheme from high yellow to moonless night, from octoroon to deepest Congo. And new-world Spanish have every nation from Mexico to Puerto Rico, from Columbia to Venezuela, each of which is a race of its own--not to mention the empires, from Aztec to Mayan to Olmec. I’m a black man closer to Mississippi midnight than its yellow moon. Also I’m a westerner, a Californian formerly from the South–Louisiana and Texas to be exact. I’m a father, a reader, a private detective, and a veteran.In his most recent novel, Blood Grove, WalterMosley lets Easy describe the America of the 1960s in which a black detective is a rarity. In lieu of payment from a client, Easy is given a yearlong lease of a pale yellow, 1968 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI which will become his at the end of that year unless he is paid sixty thousand dollars. Since he has a written contract showing he has the right to drive such a fine car, he decides to drive into Beverly Hills. I had even made it a block or two past that when the flashing red lights appeared in the exta-wide rearview mirror. It was one of those wake-up calls that happen in the lives of black men and women in America when they mistakenly believe they have crossed over to freedom.I pulled to the curb, put both hands on the steering wheel, and sat patiently awaiting the rendering of the calculation of my situation. That equation was a matter of simple addition: Rolls-Royce + black man without driver’s cap + any day of the century = stop and frisk, question and dominate—and, like the solution of pi, that process had the potential of going on forever.The whole process took about half and hour. If I added up all the half hours the police, security forces, MPs, bureaucrats, bank tellers, and even gas station attendants had stolen from my life, I could make me a twelve-year-old boy versed in useless questions, meaningless insults, and spite as thick as black tar.Although the story told in Blood Grove is a detailed and interesting one, what I find much more interesting is the social commentary Mosley provides along the way. Easy quickly garages the Rolls and borrows a plain blue car, knowing that the he will be unable to drive the Rolls to do his business without daily repeats of being pulled over and questioned or worse.In this, his newest novel, Mosley adds an ingredient he had touched on in an earlier novel Little Green, his fasciation with counter-culture youth. Driving west down the Strip was slow going, but I liked the streets filled with hippies, head shops and discos. There was what they were calling a cultural revolution going on among the youth of America. They wanted to drop out and end the war, make love for its own sake, and forget the prejudices of the past. These long-haired, dope-smoking, often unemployed wanderers gave me insight into what my country, MY COUNTRY might be.. There is the usual cast of characters in this novel: Easy’s adopted children, Jesus and Feather, the dangerous best friend Raymond, called Mouse, who is usually called in to do the dirty work for Easy, a couple of good cops who help Easy obtain information and get him out of scrapes with the law. After many harrowing adventures, Easy helps the Viet Nam vet and solves the mystery, giving the reader his summation of Easy’s reflections on the state of the world. Nineteen sixty-nine was an interesting year. There was strong anti-war action from the colleges and universities and all kinds of black political insurgence. The sleeping giant of white guilt was awakening and there seemed to be some hope for the future. If you were innocent enough, or ignorant enough, you might have believed that things were improving in such a way that all Americans could expect a fair shake.But of my many flaws, neither innocence nor ignorance played a part.It seems to me that it is easier to describe and call out racial injustice as a writer of fiction than as a social scientist or reporter. Walter Mosley describes things as he sees them, and he does so with the direct experience of what it is like to be black and poor in America. He also understands how racism and sexism are connected, and he blows the whistle loudly and clearly. If you, like many readers I know, have read Devil in a Blue Dress, but not others of Mosley’s many novels, I recommend them all to you as wonderfully told stories and stark pieces of social commentary
Is there racial inequality in book publishing? Walter Mosley, acclaimed crime fiction writer and author of BLOOD GROVE, talks being a teenager in 1969, the honesty of his characters, the event that led him to establish the Publishing Certificate Program at The City College of New York and more on this week's episode of The Current.
#297 Walter Mosley's COTTON COMES TO HARLEM (1970)
A Quality Interruption
EPISODE #297-- Did you know Ossie Davis directed a crime drama before Shaft or Sweet Sweetback? Well he did and we reviewed it and also talk about CLASS ACTION PARK and BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR. Donate to the cause at Patreon.com/Quality. Follow James on Twitter @kislingtwits and on Instagram @kislingwhatsit or on gildedterror.blogspot.com. You can watch Cruz and Alexis Simpson on You Tube in "They Live Together." Thanks to our artists Julius Tanag (http://www.juliustanag.com) and Sef Joosten (http://spexdoodles.tumblr.com).
Walter Mosley in Conversation with Jael Richardson
Books & Ideas Audio
Writing Is What I Do: Walter Mosley’s work includes 43 critically acclaimed books, translated into 23 languages, and countless essays in prestigious magazines, not to mention influence over some of the biggest shows on our screens. One of the most celebrated writers in America today, he has been described as both “a writer whose work transcends category” (Time) and “one of the most humane, insightful, powerful prose stylists working in any genre. He’s also one of the most radical.” (Austin Chronicle). In this special Writers Fest event, Mosley speaks with Festival of Literary Diversity Director, Jael Richardson about The Awkward Black Man: a new release of 17 of Mosley’s most accomplished short stories, in which he overturns often-made stereotypes of black male characters. In prose and conversation, this incredible artist paints a subtle, powerful portrait of the complexity of humankind.