The Life of Walter Mosley
A man of unflappable determination is perhaps the most accurate description of Walter Mosley. Told by prospective publishers that “white people don’t read about black people, black women don’t read about black men, and black men don’t read,” Mosley set out to prove this establishment wrong. Though he was unsuccessful in his initial attempts to sell his first manuscript (Gone Fishin’), he would go on to write several bestsellers, craft short stories, sharpen his skills in playwriting, and even spark two films based on his novels. That Mosley began writing later in life, in his midthirties, probably served him well. As a mature, responsible, and astute black man himself, he knew that the publishers’ criticism of black men was simply stereotypical and false, and he also knew that books that showcased hardworking and complex black male characters would enjoy widespread popularity. Refusing to accept exclusion from the world of publishing, Mosley persevered and, in his prolific fashion, has now written fourteen books of fiction.
Walter Mosley was born in Los Angeles on January 12, 1952, to an African American father, Leroy, and a Jewish American mother, Ella. His father was a native of Louisiana and later a resident of Texas; his mother hailed from the Bronx (with extended connections to Russia and Poland). The two met in the Los Angeles school system. Both had come to California during the post-World War II northern and western migrations. Ella worked as a personnel clerk while Leroy labored as a custodian; both