As I Am: Lessons from E.Lynn Harris

Book readers everywhere are mourning the loss of African American author, E. Lynn Harris, who passed away Friday at the age of 54. The Associated Press states that Harris was a successful author with a total of 10 novels that were on the New York Times best-sellers list. Known for his fiction novels, E. Lynn Harris was never one to hide the fact that he was gay, whether in person or in his writings.

Harris started off as an executive at IBM where he worked for many years before he decided to give up his job and pursue a writing career. E. Lynn had the grind of most unsigned music artists, being that he would sell his first novel “Invisible Life” from the trunk of his car just as rapper Master P did with his CD’s before he became a huge success. When the book “Invisible Life” finally hit the shelves in 2004 E. Lynn was not open about his sexual preference but yet all readers could gather from his writings that the characters weren’t just all made up but in fact they were showing us exactly who E. Lynn Harris was.

“People would often ask, ‘Is this book about you?’ I didn’t want to talk about that,” E Lynn said. “I wasn’t comfortable talking about it. I would say that this is a work of fiction.”

I actually had the chance to meet E. Lynn Harris a few years ago when I was a member of a local book club. E. Lynn was in town to talk about and autograph his new book “Not A Day Goes By” that just hit the shelves. I must say that I found him to be an engaging speaker who, despite his sexuality, could touch so many people at one time. There were people present of all ages, races, sexualities and gender who all were captivated by his words and his personality. Everyone who has had the chance to read his books and meet him person will continue to hold on to the fictional treasures that E. Lynn continued to bless them with over the years.

The last book that E. Lynn published was “Basketball Jones” which was based on the secret relationship between a business professional and an NBA player. Please be sure to check it out.

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—— By: Nisha Yvette


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