Leila Mottley was born in 2003 in Oakland, California, where she still lives and works. Nightcrawling, her debut novel, was nominated for the 2022 Booker Prize.

At age 16, Mottley was named 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, after two years as runner-up. She has performed and led numerous poetry workshops, and has been published in various journals and anthologies in the United States, including the New York Times. She began writing Nightcrawling at the age of 17, and it was published before she turned 20. She has also written two unpublished novels, which she completed while still at high school.

Nightcrawling is a dazzling and electrifying novel set in the streets of Oakland, where the protagonist Kiara will face a justice system that oppresses young black women. A spellbinding story and a Catcher in the Rye for a new generation.

— The 2022 judges on Nightcrawling

All nominated books

Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley