Walter Mosley Becomes First Black Man To Win Storied National Book Award

World renowned writer Walter Mosley has become the first Black man to win the National Book Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award. Mosley joins an accomplished list of recipients that includes Toni Morrison and Judy Blume.

“His oeuvre and his lived experience are distinctly part of the American experience. And as such, his contributions to our culture make him more than worthy of the Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters," National Book Foundation's Executive Director Lisa Lucas stated.

Born in 1952, Mosley was raised in Los Angeles during the Civil Rights Movement by a Black father and a white mother. As a child, he attended the pioneering Victory Baptist Day School and read the works of Langston Hughes and Gabriel García Márquez. He went on to earn a degree in Political Science at Johnson State College. At 34-years-old, he began writing full-time. His practice led him to publish more than three dozen books and a handful of plays. Most notably, his book, Devil in a Blue Dress, inspired a 1995 film that starred Denzel Washington. He also wrote an episode of John Singleton's Snowfall in 2018.

“Mosley is undeniably prolific, but what sets his work apart is his examination of both complex issues and intimate realities through the lens of characters in his fiction, as well as his accomplished historical narrative works and essays,” Lucas added.

Mosley will officially receive his award on November 18 during a virtual ceremony.

Photo: Getty Images

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