Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Sunday, 26 July 2009 12:29 UK

Pioneering gay writer Harris dies

E Lynn Harris
E Lynn Harris often appeared on bestseller lists

Bestselling US writer E Lynn Harris, a pioneer of black gay fiction, has died at the age of 54.

A former computer executive, Harris turned to writing and published his own first book before signing a deal.

Many of his novels, 10 of which made it on to the New York Times best-sellers list, dealt with the experiences of the gay African American man.

No cause of death has yet been given, but he fell ill on a business trip in Atlanta and could not be revived.

Harris wrote his first book in 1991, drawing on his own struggles with his sexuality.

'Revealing accuracy'

His other works included A Love of My Own, Abide With Me and his memoir What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.

Gay advocate Herndon Davis called Harris a "pioneering voice" within the black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

"Harris painted with eloquent prose and revealing accuracy the lives of African American men and the many complicated struggles they faced reconciling their sexuality and spirituality while rising above societal taboos within the black community," added Mr Davis.

His latest novel, Basketball Jones, was published in January, while another book was due for release in October.

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