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July 24, 2009

Author E. Lynn Harris dies

e. lynn harris diesE. Lynn Harris, the author of best-selling novels about the African-American gay community, has died at age 54, the Associated Press said today.

Publicist Laura Gilmore said Harris died Thursday night after being stricken at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, and a cause of death had not been determined. She said Harris, who lived in Atlanta, fell ill on a train to Los Angeles a few days ago and blacked out for a few minutes, but seemed fine after that.

Harris once wrote in Essence magazine: "The truth is that most brothers who are attracted to men are desperately afraid of revealing it. ... Many ... fear that ... they'll be drummed out of their families, destroying their only safe haven in an already unwelcoming society."

After graduating from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Harris sold computers for more than a decade before self-publishing his first novel, Invisible Life, in 1991, according to his website. The book was sold mainly through black-owned bookstores, beauty salons and book clubs, and became a sleeper hit; a few years later it was published by Anchor Books. Other books include If This World Were Mine (1997), Not A Day Goes By (2000), Any Way the Wind Blows (2001), and A Love of My Own (2002), which were New York Times bestsellers.

Among his awards: Blackboard Novel of the Year: Just As I Am, Any Way the Wind Blows and A Love of My Own; James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence: If This World Were Mine. In recent years, he has also been named to Ebony's "Most Intriguing Blacks" list, Out Magazine's "Out 100" list and New York Magazine's "Gay Power 101" list.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 2:07 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Obituaries
        

Comments

I am in such shock. What is going on? All of our great ones are passing on to the other side. I just saw him last year at a book signing and could not wait to attend the next. Pioneer is an understatement. A true man in every sense, through his words and actions. He was bold and classy and a gift to the literary community. He will truly be missed.

I'm so saddened by Mr. Harris death. He is the first black author that I read! He kept me wondering and intrigued by what he wrote...he will be missed...R.I.P
:(

E. Lynn Harris RIP

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=120451878366&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT

I AM SITTING AT MY DESK IN TEARS! PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS SO NOT REAL? I READ ALL THE BOOKS IN HARDBACK I WAS WAITING FOR ONE OF THEM TO BECOME A MOVIE WOW WHAT A LOSS

I SO CAN NOT GET A GRIP EVERY STAGE I HAVE GONE THREW HIS BOOKS HAVE BEEN THERE HIS WORK WAS A BLESSING TO ME I STILL GO THREW THEM TO REMIND MYSELF I AM LOVE AND I HAVE LOVE TO GIVE NO MATTER MY WHAT MY LIFE STYLE IS I AM SO SADDEN BUT GOD NEEDED ANOTHER ANGEL I AM FIGHTING BACK THE TEARS THE STORIES LAUGHING WHILE CRYING AT THE SAME TIME EVERYONE KNOWS A BASIL OR MAMA C IN THE WORDS OF SINGER MAXWELL "SPREAD YOUR WINGS" PEACE.

This is very sad news. E Lynn Harris was a very gifted writer and a very nice man. We exchanged emails a few times and he was always so nice and inspirational. He will truly be missed. RIP.

I am deeply sadden with the passing of such a great writer. I felt close to him, even though I never met him. I shared with him through email how he seemed to be a part of my life. His books always included some one's name in my house. Yancey, which is my last name. Yolanda, my first name, Damian my son, Conrad my son ,Malik my son, and Desmond my son. It was so ironic that each of his first books contained our names. Then Yancey was from Memphis Tennessee. I am from TN, but not Memphis.
I will always believe that we were connected in some way.
His memory will live on in my household forever.

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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