E. Lynn Harris

Not since James Baldwin has a black gay writer achieved the success of E. Lynn Harris. While exploring the boundaries and taboos of sexuality, Harris--who died on July 23 at 54--turned the black community and the literary world upside down, with 10 consecutive New York Times best sellers and more than 4 million copies of his work in print. Unlike Baldwin, Harris wrote for the masses, introducing readers to a fabulous world teeming with prosperous but morally conflicted black characters.

Born Everette Lynn Harris in Flint, Mich., he quit his job at IBM in his mid-30s and sold his first novel,...

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