Black Jewish novelist Walter Mosley honored with National Book Foundation’s lifetime achievement award

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JULY 08: Walter Mosley attends Premiere Of FX’s “Snowfall” Season 3 at Bovard Auditorium At USC on July 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage,)

Black Jewish novelist Walter Mosley received one of the National Book Foundation’s highest honors on Wednesday night: the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Since 1988, the lifetime achievement award has gone to Joan Didion, Ursula Le Guin and Toni Morrison, among others. Mosley is the first Black man to win the medal in its history, but not the first Jewish man — writers such as Saul Bellow, Philip Roth and Arthur Miller have won it in past years.

Mosley, 68, is perhaps best known for his “Easy Rawlins” mystery series, centering on Easy, a Black private detective in Los Angeles in the 1960s. The first of the series, “Devil in a Blue Dress,” was adapted into a 1995 movie starring Denzel Washington.

Archive Search

Search the world's largest online archive of material about Jewish diversity.


Archive Search

Search the world's largest online archive of material about Jewish diversity.


.