On July 24, 2009, the literary world lost one of its most beloved storytellers, E. Lynn Harris. Join ESSENCE.com as we take a look back at his body of work that will continue to touch lives.
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The masterpiece that started it all in 1994. This coming of age tale was for many the beginning of the down-low phenomenon. Harris introduces us to Raymond Tyler, a successful brother caught in a love triangle with Sela and Kelvin.
This vivid follow-up novel in 1995 tells the complicated stories of Raymond, a young Black lawyer from the South, who struggles with his sexuality and Nicole, a frustrated singer/actress, who sets out to find a genuine love relationship.
Authors, Terry McMillian, E. Lynn Harris, Curtis Bunn, Terrie Williams and Walter Mosley attend 4th Annual National Book Club Conference in Atlanta.
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'And This Too Shall Pass'
We meet Zurich Robinson, a young Black football player who is staying celibate—which makes his being accused of rape by a sportscaster that much more surprising. His grandmother’s words of wisdom become his backbone in this telling 1997 tale.
Author E. Lynn Harris attends the fourth annual ‘Scribbles to Novels’ gala to benefit Jumpstart April 28, 2008 in New York City.
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'If This World Were Mine'
In this 1998 novel titled like the sweet Luther Vandross ballad, four college friends meet 20 years later to discuss the journal they all shared in their college days and discuss the drama in their lives. The twist is just on point for any longtime Harris fan.
A delicious ride into the mischievous lives of two very unforgettable characters, Yancey and John. As the couple prepares to tie the knot in this 2001 tome, their lives unfold in a very unexpected, and often hilarious, manner.
This 2002 novel is another E. Lynn Harris guilty pleasure. A familiar character, retired football player Basil, is the bi-sexual ex-fiancé of talented singer Yancey, who exposes his sexuality in her first pop single. Basil left her at the altar, but soon after falls for another lover, Bart. Can love really conquer all?
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E. Lynn Harris and Terry McMillian at an event.
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'A Love of My Own'
Released in 2003, this juicy story follows the ups and downs of Zola Denise Norwood, the hot, young editor-in-chief of Bling Bling magazine. Norwood juggles more than a handful of suitors before attempting to settle down with Raymond Tyler, Jr., the CEO of Bling Bling.
In what many would consider his most daring act as an author, Harris writes the memoir of his life in 2004—from his childhood in Arkansas as a closeted gay boy through his struggling days as a self-published author to his rise as a New York Times best-selling author.
Chauncey Greer is the owner of the thriving Cute Boy Card Company in this 2007 Atlanta-based work. Harris takes us on Greer’s roller-coaster life, which includes his church, musical passions and his former boy band mate turned lover.
This sweeping novel about football, family and secrets uncovers the loves, lives and lies of football hopeful Brady Bledsoe and his doting entrepreneur mother, Carmyn, which made for a perfect summer read in 2008.
During his untimely death, the renowned author was on his West Coast book tour for this, his last published work, released in January 2009. “Basketball Jones” chronicled the lives of AJ Richardson, the gay lover of a NBA star, Drayton Jones.
In this tale, a devious singer plots her way to the spotlight by any means necessary even using reality TV and a rich and established lover. However, the young and talented singer Madison B. becomes competition to a comeback, with an unexpected connection.