Everette "E." Lynn Harris (June 20, 1955 — July 23, 2009) was an American author. 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 to make The New York Times Best Seller list making him among the most successful African American or gay authors of his era.
Born in Flint, Michigan, Harris grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and had homes in Houston, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia and Fayetteville, Arkansas. 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 while attending the University of Arkansas. After graduation, he became a computer salesman with IBM for a time.
Harris 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, ten of his novels have achieved New York Times bestseller status.
Alongside fiction, Harris had also penned a personal memoir, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?
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, California, and was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. 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 will host the release of the novel on September 22, 2009 at Outwrite Book in Atlanta, GA. link title On September 25 a nationwide tour of Mama Dearest will be hosted by various other authors at various venues. Authors committed to this memorial event includes the likes of Dr. Bertice Berry, Kimberla Lawson Roby, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, Mary B. Morrison and more.
Harris' 2002 novel, Any Way the Wind Blows, is the sequel to his previous book, Not a Day Goes By. It follows the jilted Yancey Harrington as she pursues success and stardom in L.A, and her wayward bisexual ex-fiance Basil Henderson, who has left thoughts of matrimony behind in favour of singledom.
What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted: A Memoir E. Lynn Harris' autobiographical reflection. It concerns the rise of a small town boy to a successful writer; detailing Harris' battle with depression and 'coming out' experience as a gay African American.
A Love of My Own is Harris' 2003 novel, which won Blackboard's 'Novel of the Year Award'. It details a year in the lives of several characters living in New York. It is narrated alternately by Zola Norwood, editor of a Hip Hop magazine, and Raymond Tyler Jr., the magazine's CEO. It deals with both the trials and tribulations of the characters' love and work lives against the back drop of the cultural and political events of 2001 and 2002.