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About the Author
LEILA MOTTLEY is the author of the novel Nightcrawling, an Oprah's Book Club Pick and New York Times best seller. She is also the 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate. She was born and raised in Oakland, where she continues to live.
"Nightcrawling is a scorching, incredibly readable book that takes seriously the task of readerly provocation on every page. Get ready. Or don't. It doesn't matter. Leila Mottley is here." --Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy "Leila Mottley's commanding debut, inspired by the life events of one woman's struggle for body and soul against crushing exploitation, is fierce and devastating, rendered with electrifying urgency by this colossal young talent." --Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie "Nightcrawling marks the dazzling arrival of a young writer with a voice and vision you won't easily get out of your head . . . When asked how to write in a world dominated by a white culture, Toni Morrison once responded: 'By trying to alter language, simply to free it up, not to repress or confine it . . . Tease it. Blast its racist straitjacket.' At a time when structural imbalances of capital, heath, gender, and race deepen divides, the young American Leila Mottley's debut novel is a searing testament to the liberated spirit and explosive ingenuity of such storytelling . . . What makes Nightcrawling scarring and unforgettable as a novel is Mottley's ability to change our language about and perception of the repressed and confined. She does this by entering the mind, body, and soul of Kiara, one of the toughest and kindest young heroines of our time . . . Nightcrawling is not only a fearless investigation of justice, guilt, and prejudice, but an allegory of the potential power of speech, narrative, and fiction itself." --The Guardian
"Electric . . . Not to be missed." --Shondaland "A fierce, lyrical debut novel . . . Unflinching . . . Essential to understanding how maddeningly elusive justice can be." --San Francisco Chronicle "This is an accomplished first novel with a remarkable heroine whom the reader wills on every step of the way . . . Both a searing depiction of sexual exploitation and a gripping account of a struggle for survival . . . Hard-hitting but never heavy-handed . . . Rich and inventive." --The Economist
"A remarkable debut novel . . . Striking . . . Incendiary . . . The captivating, distinctively voiced Kiara is a young black American who can shoot hoops and skateboard, but her literary antecedents are Zola's Thérèse Raquin, Victor Hugo's Fantine, and Elizabeth Gaskell's Ruth." --The Sunday Times (U.K.) "Leila Mottley is a name to pay attention to . . . Nightcrawling will make you desperate, it will make you awed, it will make you read anything that Mottley should ever choose to write." --CrimeReads "So compelling that one cannot put it down . . . Amazing . . . Unforgettable . . . Through Kiara, Mottley gives voice to countless Black women and girls who remain invisible, vulnerable, and dehumanized by a system that deems them disposable . . . We need Kiara's story, but more importantly, we need young writers like Leila Mottley . . . This isn't just a story about a survivor of sexual abuse or the myriad ways we ask Black girls to assume adult responsibilities. It is not a story of crashed dreams or grief or the impact of prison sentences, although all those things are here. It is, instead, a testimony to hope, resilience, and love." --Liber: A Feminist Review "Fast money, crooked cops, and dire consequences are at the forefront of Mottley's electric debut novel . . . Striking prose and unforgettable characters--including a young Black woman in relentless pursuit of justice--make for a shocking page-turner and timely reflection." --Elle "With its powerful poetry and courageous, unsparing vision, Nightcrawling is more than just a magnificent debut novel. It is a bid, by this prodigiously gifted young writer, to heal a broken world." --Ruth Ozeki, author of The Book of Form and Emptiness "Leila Mottley has an extraordinary gift. She writes with the humility and sparkle of a child, but with the skill and deft touch of a wizened, seasoned storyteller." --James McBride, author of Deacon King Kong "The writing in Leila Mottley's Nightcrawling erupts and flows like lava, makes hot bright an Oakland that runs the city's uncontrollable brilliance, its destructive and generative veins the same, Mottley's energetic writing here too, bursts at the seams of every page, pushing you deeper into a story you can't help but continue swallowing, stay thirsty for, while it swallows you whole." --Tommy Orange, author of There There "Leila Mottley has a poet's delicate touch when she tells us the most brutal, heart-crushing truths. This is an electrifying debut." --Dave Eggers, author of The Every "Stunning . . . Kiara is an unforgettable dynamo, and her story brings critical human depth to conversations about police sexual violence." --Booklist (starred) "A work of devastating social realism . . . executed with relentless momentum . . . A powerful discourse on the dehumanizing effects policing can have on marginalized communities, bodies, and minds (and especially on Black women)." --Library Journal (starred) "Bold and beautiful . . . This heartrending story makes for a powerful testament to a Black woman's resilience." --Publishers Weekly (starred) "Lush, immersive . . . It's Kiara's intense, anguished interiority rendered in lovely and poetic exposition that drives this evocation of an underclass and the disposable women just trying to survive . . . The acute observations are more remarkable still considering the author is herself a promising Oakland teen." --Kirkus Reviews (starred)