The literary world was rocked to its core following the death of author, Eric Jerome Dickey at age 59.
News of his passing was first announced by a relative on social media and later confirmed by his publicist saying, “It is with great sadness that we confirm that beloved New York Times best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey passed away on Sunday, January 3, in Los Angeles after battling a long illness. He was 59.” Following the announcement, celebrities, fans, and colleagues of the beloved author shared tributes and fond memories on social media, remembering him for creating captivating stories of and providing visibility to Black people in the areas of love, relationships, and real-life drama.
Fellow author, Roxanne Gay wrote, “I am truly saddened to hear about the passing of Eric Jerome Dickey. His were some of the first novels I ever read about Black people that weren’t about slavery or civil rights. He was a great storyteller.”
Vanessa Lloyd-Sgambati, founder of the African-American Children’s Book Project and CEO of the Philadelphia-based Literary Media and Publishing Consultants said, “He was one of the first male African American fiction writers to penetrate that sister-friendly fiction market that was so popular in the 90s.”
Journalist, Wesley Lowery tweeted, “I remember sneaking around with my copy of “Friends and Lovers” in middle school like it was contraband. Secretly reading an Eric Jerome Dickey novel was a teenage right of passage for a generation of Black Americans.”
Born in Memphis, TN on July 7, 1961, Eric Jerome Dickey obtained a degree in Computer System Technology from Memphis State University in 1983 and later relocated to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career in engineering. Shortly after arriving, he discovered a passion for comedy and writing, and from there went on to write several short stories, poems, and comedy scripts for himself.
Following the release of his debut novel “Sister, Sister” in 1996, Eric Jerome Dickey went on to write over 25 novels throughout his 20+ year career. To date, he has sold over seven million books, including “Milk In My Coffee”, “Liars Game”, “Thieves Paradise”, “Friends and Lovers”, and “Cheaters”, with the latter two later being turned into stage plays. He is the recipient of multiple awards, countless honors, received a total of four NAACP Image Award nominations, and appeared on the New York Times, Essence, USA Today, and Washington Post best-selling lists. Recently, he was awarded Male Author of the Year at the African American Literary Awards Show in 2012, and in 2013, received the R.E.A.D. Award on behalf of the NAACP.
Eric Jerome Dickey’s next novel, “The Son of Mr. Suleman” is scheduled to be released in April of this year, and he leaves behind four daughters. He will be missed.
Contributing Writer, Racquel Coral is a writer and journalist based in Chicago. Find her on social media @withloveracquel.