Thursday, July 30, 2009

Death of Writer E. Lynn Harris

Death of E. Lynn Harris

Author E. Lynn Harris died on July 24, 2009. It is hard to believe this renowned writer has left us. Not since James Baldwin, has an author attacked the topic of homosexuality, but Harris took it to another level, exploring the down-low culture of black men who lives two lives.

Invisible Life, his first novel, will go down as a classic. Poignant, well-written, and personal, a young college football player embraces his homosexuality and enters the world of black gay men in the closet. Readers embraced the honesty of Harris’ work and have been entertained by his subsequent novels. He published a memoir, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted in 2003 that revealed his painful childhood where he was abused by his stepfather and discovered his homosexuality.

I was in Arkansas last week and had just left Little Rock to attend my family reunion in Union County when I heard of Harris’ death. He was raised in Little Rock and in the last few years he had returned home as a visiting professor at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, his alma mater. I am so thankful I attended his last Bay Area book signing in February at Marcus Bookstore in Oakland, California. He was a favorite of Marcus and the book club. His graciousness and humility was endearing to us all.

I wrote a blog this past March honoring Mr. Harris and his work.

May he rest in peace.

July 30, 2009


Angelia... said...

this is a beautiful post in memory of a talented man. I remember living in Hawaii in 1993 and seeing Just As I Am in Waldenbooks, I bought it and was blown away by the boldness...I fell in love with Mr. Harris, I immediately found Invisible Life and a fan was born...I am not sure what else to say other than RIP E.Lynn Harris...


Niambi Brown Davis said...

Very nice tribute, Dera. The words "gracious" and "humble" were always associated with him.

'Cilla said...

Thanks Dera for the wonderful Tribute. Like most, I was blown away with his characters and storytelling.. I never looked at or thought of homosexuallity in the manner in which he told his stories. I gained a lot of respect and understanding from his novels and Mr. Harris will be greatly missed.

Yasmin said...

Wonderful tribute. Thanks for sharing.