E. LYNN HARRIS, (d: 2009); E. Lynn Harris was an openly Gay African American author, most known for his depictions of African American men “on the down low” or in the closet.
Born in Flint, Michigan, he had homes in both Atlanta, Georgia and Fayetteville, Arkansas. In his writings, Harris maintained a poignant motif, occasionally emotive, that incorporates 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.
He 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. Since then, five of his novels have achieved New York Times bestseller status.
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, and was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center there. 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.