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E. Lynn Harris

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E. Lynn Harris
BornEverette Lynn Jeter
(1955-06-20)June 20, 1955
Flint, Michigan, U.S.
DiedJuly 23, 2009(2009-07-23) (aged 54)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Arkansas

E. Lynn Harris (born Everette Lynn Jeter; June 20, 1955 – July 23, 2009) was an American author.[1] 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 that made The New York Times Best Seller list, making him among the most successful African-American or gay authors of his era.[2]


Harris was one of the first African-American students at Forest Heights Junior High and Hall High School in Little Rock. Harris had homes in Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Fayetteville, Arkansas.[3]

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 as well as the first black yearbook editor while attending the University of Arkansas. After graduation, he became a computer salesman with IBM, AT&T, and Hewlett-Packard for 13 years living in Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. In 1990, Harris attempted suicide during a dark phase of depression and heavy drinking but later found the will to live through his writing. Harris relieved himself of his salesman duties and quit in order to begin writing his first novel.[4]

In June 2019, Harris was one of the inaugural fifty American "pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes" inducted on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor within the Stonewall National Monument (SNM) in New York City's Stonewall Inn.[5][6] The SNM is the first U.S. national monument dedicated to LGBTQ rights and history,[7] and the wall's unveiling was timed to take place during the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.[8]


Harris died on July 23, 2009, while in Los Angeles, California, for a business meeting. He was found unconscious at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, and was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.[9][10] According to the Office of the Los Angeles County Coroner, he died of heart disease complicated by hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure.[11]


  • 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), in Got to Be Real – 4 Original Love Stories by Eric Jerome Dickey, Marcus Major, E. Lynn Harris and Colin Channer (2001)
  • 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 (2003)
  • Freedom in This Village: Twenty-Five Years of Black Gay Men's Writing, 1979 to the Present (editor, 2005)
  • 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)
  • No One in the World (2012) (posthumously released)


  1. ^ Biography at freep.com.
  2. ^ Weber, Bruce (July 25, 2009). "E. Lynn Harris, Who Wrote of Gay Black Men's Lives, Dies at 54". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  3. ^ Foxxe, Austin (July 8, 2003). "A Visible Life: superstar novelist E. Lynn Harris talks about his new memoir, from growing up "sissy" in the South to achieving success beyond his dreams". The Advocate. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  4. ^ Hines, Vanessa Ward (April 2005), "Bestselling author motivates students to find themselves, live passion" The South End (Detroit), pg. 1.
  5. ^ Glasses-Baker, Becca (June 27, 2019). "National LGBTQ Wall of Honor unveiled at Stonewall Inn". www.metro.us. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  6. ^ Rawles, Timothy (June 19, 2019). "National LGBTQ Wall of Honor to be unveiled at historic Stonewall Inn". San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. Archived from the original on June 21, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  7. ^ Laird, Cynthia. "Groups seek names for Stonewall 50 honor wall". The Bay Area Reporter / B.A.R. Inc. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  8. ^ "Stonewall 50". San Francisco Bay Times. April 3, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  9. ^ "U.S. author E. Lynn Harris dies at 54". CBC News. July 24, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  10. ^ "Author E. Lynn Harris Died Thursday Night at Age 54", Snark Food, July 24, 2009.
  11. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (July 30, 2009). "E. Lynn Harris Died of Heart Disease, Coroner Says". The New York Times.

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