Eric Jerome Dickey, the best-selling author of books like Friends and lovers, Bad Men and Wicked Women, and documenter of Black Lives, passed away at the age of 59 on Sunday (January 3). A report in the People, as confirmed by his publicist at Penguin Random House, informs he died of cancer.
A report in OprahMag.com carries the statement. “It is with great sadness that we confirm that beloved New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey passed away on Sunday, January 3, in Los Angeles after battling a long illness. Eric Jerome Dickey was the author of 29 novels, and his work has become a cultural touchstone over the course of his multi-decade writing career, earning him millions of dedicated readers around the world.”
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Dickey moved to Los Angeles for an engineering career. But he soon explored other creative options like acting and even stand-up comedy. He wrote 29 novels, the last one being The Business of Lovers: A Novel.
I write on and on
how I scribe so long
I must have
do the math
I made 30
that made you
cry and laugh
And for the last
I made two more
Just to keep
and they bump pic.twitter.com/3EHoEfpqdY
— Eric Jerome Dickey (@EricJDickey) December 10, 2020
Tributes continue to pour in since Sunday with readers expressing gratitude and disbelief. Read some of them here.
RIP to literary icon Eric Jerome Dickey. Thank you for shaping my childhood with your work. pic.twitter.com/fIDoZdeyxt
— Jamal had a Lecture (@TeetheGem) January 5, 2021
RIP to the legendary Eric Jerome Dickey.
Thank you for all of your contributions to the writing world. Here’s my mood today. 🙏🏾🤍 pic.twitter.com/Eu4rTwPk3y
— Literary King QJ 👻👑📚 (@quardeay) January 5, 2021
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.
— roxane gay (@rgay) January 5, 2021
Eric Jerome Dickey was a literary legend. Had a whole generation reading and coming to school the next day like “DID YOU FINISH YET??? We have to talk about it when you do!”
May he rest peacefully.
— Luvvie is the #ProfessionalTroublemaker (@Luvvie) January 5, 2021
This one hurts!!! Omg!!! Rest In Peace!!!
Eric Jerome Dickey!!!
— Orsayor (@Orsayor) January 5, 2021
In a moving obituary, journalist Adrienne Samuels Gibbs wrote, “Everyone has an Eric Jerome Dickey story. Whether you read his books or not, you knew about every single one of them. You, your mama or grandmama or auntie or godmother had his books on the shelf. High up. So everyone could see the colourful bindings. His name often dominated the “African American section” of Barnes and Noble, back before Amazon existed and back when bookstores were a thing. His stories titillated, tantalised, and verbalised all that was beautiful and sometimes messy about Black women, our relationships, our families, and our friendships.”
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