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E. Lynn Harris (June 20, 1955 – July 23, 2009)

Everette "E." Lynn Harris (June 20, 1955 – July 23, 2009) 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.

E. Lynn Harris was born in Flint, Michigan and raised, along with three sisters, in Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville where he was the school's first black yearbook editor, the first black male Razorbacks cheerleader, and the president of his fraternity. He graduated with honors with a degree in journalism.

Harris sold computers for IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and AT&T for thirteen years while living in Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. In 1991, he quit his sales job to write his first novel, Invisible Life, which, failing to find a publisher, he self-published and sold mostly at black-owned bookstores, beauty salons, and book clubs before he was "discovered" by Anchor Books. Anchor published Invisible Life as a trade paperback in 1994, and E. Lynn Harris’s career as an author officially began.

Harris went on to become a ten-time New York Times bestselling author. His work included the memoir What Becomes of the Brokenhearted and the novels, A Love of My Own, Just as I Am, Any Way the Wind Blows (all three of which were named Novel of the Year by the Blackboard African American Bestsellers), I Say a Little Prayer, If This World Were Mine (which won the James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence), the classic Invisible Life, Just Too Good to Be True, and Basketball Jones.


E. Lynne Harris, 2000, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl/oneITEM.asp?pid=2032629&iid=1121476&srchtype=)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/giard.html)
Harris was a member of the Board of Directors of the Hurston/Wright Foundation and the Evidence Dance Company. He was also the founder of the E. Lynn Harris Better Days Foundation, a nonprofit company that provides support to aspiring writers and artists.

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 hosted the release of the novel on September 22, 2009 at Outwrite Book in Atlanta, GA. On September 25 a nationwide tour of Mama Dearest was 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.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._Lynn_Harris

Further Readings:

Not a Day Goes By: A Novel by E. Lynn Harris
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Anchor (February 10, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400075785
ISBN-13: 978-1400075782
Amazon: Not a Day Goes By: A Novel
Amazon Kindle: Not a Day Goes By: A Novel

John “Basil” Henderson has always played the field, both as a professional football player and as an equal opportunity lover. After retiring his jersey for a career as a sports agent, the dashing playboy is surprising everyone—including himself—by deciding to settle down and commit to his new love, Yancey Harrington Braxton. A fiercely driven Broadway star on the rise, blessed with beauty, charm, and a fondness for the finer things in life, she appears to be his ideal mate. A lavish wedding is planned, but just before the nuptials, fate and a little comeuppance threaten the happy couple’s future.

Charged with narrative exuberance and sumptuous detail, Not a Day Goes By proves that nobody spins a sexy urban love story like E. Lynn Harris.

More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices

More Spotlights at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Lists/Gay Novels


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Tags: author: e. lynn harris, in the spotlight, particular voices
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