Author HILLEL ITALY, AP National Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Oprah Winfrey has chosen 19-year-old Layla Mottley’s Night Crawl, the debut novel about a young black East Oakland woman and her battles with poverty, racism and the police, for her next book club selection.
Winfrey’s rep said Mottley is the youngest author ever selected for the Oprah Book Club, founded in 1996.
“It gives me great joy to introduce readers to new authors, and this young poet Leila Mottley has written a heartbreaking portrait of survival and hope,” Winfrey said in a statement Tuesday.
Born and raised in Auckland, Mottley was the 2018 winner of the City’s Youth Poet Award. Her book was published on Tuesday and was praised by James McBride and Tommy Orange, among others. Kirkus Reviews called “Nightcrawling” a “beautiful and poetic” memory of “lower class and disposable women just trying to survive.”
In her statement, Mottley said she was “absolutely blown away when Ms. Winfrey showed up” during what she thought was a regular publishing meeting.
“It was the surprise of a lifetime!” she added.
Winfrey will speak with Motley on June 30 at an interactive book club event on OprahDaily.com. Since starting her book club, Winfrey has often switched between established authors Toni Morrison and Richard Powers and emerging authors like Mottley, Imbolo Mbue and Cynthia Bond.
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