Friday, July 24, 2009

E. Lynn Harris Dead at 54

E. Lynn Harris, the best-selling Arkansas author known for contemporary stories about African-Americans, died today during a West Coast book tour.

His personal assistant confirmed an unspecified health event for us this morning. He was stricken while staying at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. His death has been confirmed by the local coroner, but an autopsy will be necessary to determine the case of death.

Arkansas Sports 360 provided the first formal report that Harris had died. The item did not cite a source, but Harris was close to the UA Athletic Department and had worked as coach and sponsor of the cheerleaders. Black Voices later confirmed the report, citing a spokesman for his publisher.

Word of the health event began making the rounds on Twitter earlier in the morning.
Born in Michigan, Harris grew up in Little Rock. He attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he was the school's first black cheerleader. He continued to be a diehard Razorback fan. He has taught adjunct courses in the English department, most recently last fall.

His latest book, "Basketball Jones," is about the gay lover of an NBA star. Says the publicity blurb: "In Basketball Jones, E. Lynn Harris explores the consequences of loving someone who is forced to conform to the rules society demands its public heroes follow. Filled with nonstop twists and turns, it will keep readers riveted from the first page to the last." According
to his website biography, Harris, 54, divided his time between Fayetteville and Atlanta.

Posted by Max Brantley on July 24, 2009 09:31 AM

I met E. Lynn Harris several times during the course of his writing career. I own every book he has published and attended book signings/readings. I love his writing style and watched him become more popular by men and women alike. He will definately be missed in the literary world and fans alike. May you rest in PEACE E. Lynn Harris.

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