Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  E. Lynn Harris  

Pen Name: None


Born: 1955 in Flint, Michigan


Illinois Connection

Harris lived in Chicago. His book, ''And This Too Shall Pass'', was set in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

E. Lynn Harris was an American author who rose from self-publishing to best-selling status. He was best known as a pioneer of gay black fiction. He authored ten consecutive books to make ''The New York Times'' Best Seller list. After graduating with honors from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1977, Harris went to work as a sales executive for IBM. Five years later, he quit his job as a computer salesman and used $25,000 of his own money to print ''Invisible Life.'' It was published as a Doubleday paperback in 1994 and quickly soared to number one on the Blackboard Bestseller List of African American titles.Harris also edited two books, ''Freedom in the Village: Twenty-five years of Black, Gay Men's Writing'' in 2004 and ''Gumbo: A Celebration of African American Writers'' with Marita Golden in 2002. He founded the E. Lynn Harris Better Days Foundation, a nonprofit company that provides support to aspiring writers and artists.

Published Works Expand for more information

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