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Culture

Valerie Wilson Wesley - African-American Mystery Author

The versatile novelist writes crime stories for adults as well as children's books.

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Valerie Wilson Wesley

Valerie Wilson Wesley, an African-American writer, is the author of the Tamara Hayle Mystery Series. The series feature Tamara Hayle, a tough and witty Newark single mother who makes her living as a private investigator.

The mean streets of Newark, New Jersey, in the 1990s and the rough gangsters and thugs who live there come to life in these racy, gripping novels.

Wesley began her fiction writing career in her mid-40s and each novel has had its own success.

Her first novel, Where Do I Go From Here?, was written in November, 1993 and has recently received the American Library Association’s "Best Books for Reluctant Readers" citation.

One of her most recent books The Devil Riding was released in hardcover in June 2000.

Her other titiles such as Easier to Kill (Sept 1998), No Hiding Place (Oct 1997), Where Evil Sleeps (Aug 1996), and Devil’s Gonna Get Him (July 1995) are available in paperback and have made it to several bestseller lists.

They have been published in America, Germany, Great Britain, France and Poland. The first three books will also be made into films and television series.

Wesley was born in Connecticut on November 22, 1947. As a child she loved to write, her favorite authors being Edgar Allan Poe and Agatha Christie.

Wesley graduated from a high school in Madrid, Spain. She then attended Howard University, where she earned her master’s degrees from both the Bank Street College of Education and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Wesley is also the author of the novel Ain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do, which won the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Award for Fiction in 2000.

Valerie Wilson Wesley has also written a picture book for children, Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story.

She is formerly executive editor and currently a contributing editor of Essence magazine.

Valerie Wesley’s fiction and nonfiction for both adults and children have appeared in many publications, including Essence, Family Circle, and The New York Times.

She is a 1993 recipient of the Griot Award from the New York Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists

Valerie Wilson Wesley currently resides in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, noted screenwriter and playwright Richard Wesley. They have two daughters.

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