Walter Mosley, Countee Cullen To Be Inducted into N.Y. Writers Hall of Fame

Frederick H. Lowe


From New America Media and the NorthStar News & Analysis:


The New York  State Writers Hall of Fame will honor Walter Mosley and Countee Cullen as part of the organization's 2013 induction of eight living or deceased writers, Rocco Staino, director of the Empire State Center for the Book, which sponsors the event, tells The NorthStar News & Analysis.


Mosley will be inducted into the hall fame with three living writers, including Marilyn Hacker, Alice McDermott and Calvin Trillin.


Cullen, who died in 1946, will be inducted with three deceased writers, including James Fenimore Cooper, Miguel Piñero and Maurice Sendak.


Sam Roberts, a New York Times reporter and author, will host the ceremony, which will be held on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, at The Princeton Club of New York in Manhattan.


A committee that includes librarians and publishers select writers for induction into the hall of fame based on their body of work, Staino said. The hall of fame, which held its first induction ceremony in 2010, is called the writers hall of fame instead of the authors hall of fame because journalists, as well as poets, are included among its inductees, he added.


Cullen, a gay poet, is closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance, which spanned from 1919 to 1930. He graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in New York, New York University and Harvard University. Cullen won prizes for poetry and oratory in high school, and he won first or second prizes for poetry at New York University.



Cullen's poem "Ballad of the Brown Girl," was publicly praised, according to the Poetry Foundation.  Before he was accepted into a master’s program at Harvard, he published "Color," his first volume of poetry. His other poems include "Heritage" and "Atlantic City Waiter."


Mosley, a prolific writer, has written more than 40 books, including the popular Easy Rawlins mystery series, beginning with Devil In A Blue Dress, which was published in 1990. Mosley has also written nonfiction, science fiction, books for young adults, a graphic novel and a play.


The deceased inductees will be honored with a plaque. In the case of Cullen, it may be placed at the Countee Cullen Branch of the New York Public Library. Staino hopes to locate Cullen's descendents to accept the award.


In 2011, when Zora Neale Hurston was inducted, individuals traveled from across the country to attend the ceremony, Staino said.  Hurston died in 1960.


Living honorees will receive an engraved glass trophy. The New York State Writers Hall of Fame does not yet have a physical location, but Staino is hoping to open a permanent hall of fame exhibit, as well as a virtual one.


NorthStar News & Analysis


Photos: North Star News; Bob Travis (Creative Commons).

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