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Leila Mottley Books In Order

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Woke Up No Light (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

About Leila Mottley

An American writer with much to say, Leila Mottley is well known for her incisive and intelligent brand of fiction. Writing with a great degree of insight, she really understands her subject matter inside out, delivering it in a clear and articulate manner. Setting herself apart from other writers in her field, she pushes the boundaries of the format to their fullest, making the most of everything she writes about. Not only that, but she says something important through her work as well, providing ideas that are universal in their human appeal.

Becoming a household name for many around the world, she’s a hugely gifted writer, as she speaks in a lyrical style that flows on the page. Over time this has seen reach a sizeable audience of readers from all around the world, as more and more discover her work every day. Knowing what her readers want from her work, she speaks to them directly, while also saying exactly what it is she wants to say. Her success can be found in her bestseller status, as she has appeared in numerous book-clubs and groups far and wide.

Seeking to address contemporary issues, she makes sure to bring in a range of different subjects to discuss in her writing. This approach to her writing really allows her to become a more singular and idiosyncratic voice with something unique to say. Writing in a manner that’s also extremely down-to-earth, yet poetic at the same time, she makes sure to engage her audience in a way that’s compelling. Through doing this she’s appealed to both the critics and the general public alike, with her writing being highly accessible to all.

It’s a testament to her skills as a writer that she’s reached such a wide audience, while also remaining entirely true to herself. Immediately getting to the heart of the matter in her storytelling, she also understands how to keep her reader held there on the edge of their seat. With much more to follow yet, she isn’t finishing any time soon either, as her writing career continues to grow day-by-day.

Early and Personal Life

Born in 2003, Leila Mottley was born and raised in Oakland, California, which was an area that would come to define much of her work. Heavily drawing inspiration from the world around her, she would use her love and passion for storytelling to help determine her writing. Attending an arts high-school that’s based in Oakland, she would soon graduate before going on to make a name for herself. Growing up with a keen interest in storytelling and literature, she would make it her prime focus for a number of years.

Concentrating on her love of writing, which was something she shared with her father, she would set about defining her own voice. Refining and honing her craft, she would come a long way in a relatively short amount of time, telling the stories she wanted to tell. Making an impact, she would soon go on to publish her first novel prior to making an impression with her much loved poetry. Tutored by the author Ruth Ozeki, she would attend an advanced writing class, and she still continues to write to this day.

Writing Career

Starting on her first novel at the young age of seventeen, Leila Mottley would see it published a few years later when she was nineteen. A youth poet laureate in Oakland when she was sixteen, she would make a name for herself with her strong and distinctive voice. Using real news stories to help inspire her work, she would speak out about important contemporary topics through her writing. All of this would lead up to her writing her first novel titled ‘Nightcrawling’ in 2022, which was released to much acclaim.

Seeking to address themes of individual inequality and liberation through her writing, she tackles a great deal in her work. Praised by fellow authors, she’s also been named by the New York Times as their Writer to Watch, marking her as someone with a lot more to come yet. Featuring in the Oprah Daily as well, along with The New York Times, she was also named Oakland Youth Poet Laureate back in 2018. Performing her poetry at various events too, her work as been met with a great deal of acclaim across the entire publishing industry.


Originally released in 2022 on the 7th of June, this would be published through the ‘Knopf Publishing Group’ imprint. A stand-alone title, it would draw from real-world events for a fictional story, in what is a self-contained story and narrative. Marking the literary debut of Leila Mottley as an author, it would introduce her to the reading public at large for the very first time.

Having both dropped out of high-school, Marcus and his sister Kiara live in Regal-Hi, an East Oakland apartment complex. With their family hurt by prison and death, Marcus hopes to become a rapper, while Kiara looks for work to pay the rent, along with feeding the young boy abandoned next-door. This leads to her working as a sex-worker, and it’s during her nightcrawling that her name becomes embroiled in a police investigation. A key witness to a huge scandal within the Oakland Police Department, her whole world is soon turned completely upside-down.

It’s easy to see why so many have taken to this novel, with its lyrical language and direct point made with intelligence. Dealing with strong themes, it’s extremely impressive the level of insight this book has when analyzing real-world contemporary issues. There’s so much running throughout the course of its narrative, yet it manages to make it all highly accessible and easy to follow.

Facing the topic with confidence, its characters are also extremely well realized, as they feel wholly real upon the page. Drawing from real-life events, it grounds the story with a sense of reality, giving it a feeling of immediacy that makes it difficult to forget. Hard to put down, the story keeps the reader hooked for the duration of the novel, ensuring the audience is glued to the page for the duration, right till the very last page.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Leila Mottley

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