GLAAWc 2022 Speakers

Langston Hughes Keynote Speaker - Walter Mosley

Novelist and Social Commentator Walter Mosley is one of the most versatile and admired writers working in any genre today. He is the author of more than 55 books, ranging from crime novels to literary fiction, nonfiction, political essays, young adult, and science fiction. The New York Review of Books called him “a literary master as well as a master of mystery,” while The Boston Globe declared him “one of the nation’s finest writers.” In 2020, he released The Awkward Black Man, a collection of touching and contemplative short stories. In November 2020, Walter was awarded the 2020 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL) by the presenter of the National Book Awards, the National Book Foundation. 

Called “a writer whose work transcends category and qualifies as serious literature” by TIME, Mosley brings the same shrewd observations and thoughtful viewpoints to the stage as he discusses race and justice, the importance of writing and storytelling, and the current state of America.

Best known for his mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, Mosley’s fiction tracks the African American experience as early as the migration from the Deep South to post-Obama-era New York City. He has described many of his characters as the “fully formed, complex black men who have been absent from much of contemporary literature.”  

Several of Mosley’s books have been adapted for film and television, including Devil in a Blue Dress, starring Denzel Washington. 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.  

His recent novel, John Woman, is a convention-defying novel about the way we tell stories and how the stories we tell have the power to change ourselves — and the world.

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. Following his essential writing guide, This Year You Write Your Novel, Mosley will release Elements of Fiction, a part writing guide, part study of the mechanics of the genre, in September 2019. 

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. He is currently a writer and consultant on FX’s Snowfall.

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 Risk-taker Award, a Grammy, and two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Work. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual Edgar Awards and an Edgar Award for Best Novel for his work Down the River Unto the Sea. Mosley was named the first African-American “Grand Master” by the Mystery Writers of America and was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame in 2013.

Additional speakers will be announced very soon!