#BlackGayHistory: Author E. Lynn Harris
Everette “E.” Lynn Harris was an American author.Openly gay, he was best known for his depictions of African American men who were on the down-low and closeted. He authored ten consecutive books to make The New York Times Best Seller list making him among the most successful African American or gay authors of his era.
Born in Flint, Michigan, Harris grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and had homes in Houston, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia and Fayetteville, Arkansas. In his writings, Harris maintained a poignant motif, occasionally emotive, that incorporated vernacular and slang from popular culture.
Harris became the first black male cheerleader while attending the University of Arkansas. After graduation, he became a computer salesman with IBM for a time.Harris was initially unable to land a book deal with a reputable publishing house for his first work, Invisible Life, so he self-published it through a vanity publisher and sold copies from his car trunk.
Alongside fiction, Harris had also penned a personal memoir, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted? (My PERSONAL favorite BTW)
Harris died on July 23, 2009 while in Los Angeles for a business meeting. He was found unconscious at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, and was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.An autopsy determined that the cause of death was heart disease.
As a tribute to Harris, several authors came together to host a national book tour for the release of Harris’s last novel, Mama Dearest. RM Johnson, Eric Jerome Dickey, Tracie Howard, Tina McElroy Ansa, Clarence Nero, and Laura Gilmore will host the release of the novel on September 22, 2009 at Outwrite Book in Atlanta, GA. link title On September 25 a nationwide tour of Mama Dearest will be hosted by various other authors at various venues. Authors committed to this memorial event includes the likes of Dr. Bertice Berry, Kimberla Lawson Roby, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, Mary B. Morrison and more.
Invisible Life (self published 1991, mass marketed 1994)
Just As I Am (1995), winner of Blackboard’s Novel of the Year Award
And This Too Shall Pass (1997)
If This World Were Mine (1998), winner of James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence
Abide With Me (1999)
Not A Day Goes By (2000)
Money Can’t Buy Me Love (2000) (Short Story)
From the Book Got to Be Real – 4 Original Love Stories by Eric Jerome Dickey, Marcus Major, E. Lynn Harris and Colin Channer
Any Way the Wind Blows (2002), winner of Blackboard’s Novel of the Year Award
A Love Of My Own (2003), winner of Blackboard’s Novel of the Year Award
What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted – A Memoir (2004)
I Say a Little Prayer (2006)
Just Too Good To Be True (2008)
Basketball Jones (2009)
Mama Dearest (2009) (Posthumously Released)
In My Father’s House (2010) (Posthumously Released)