Eric Jerome Dickey, the New York Times best-selling author whose work rose to popularity in the ‘90s with its exploration of contemporary Black life in Los Angeles, has died. He was 59.
“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,” a rep for his publishing company Penguin Random House confirmed.
In a literary career spanning nearly three decades, Dickey released dozens of novels including Friends and Lovers, Cheaters and Liars, Milk in My Coffee, Liar’s Game, Chasing Destiny, Naughty or Nice, Before We Were Wicked, Thieves’ Paradise, and The Business of Lovers, the latter of which hit shelves last spring.
Dickey was a graduate of the University of Memphis where he earned a degree in Computer System Technology. He moved to Los Angeles in the early ‘80s but after landing a job in the aerospace industry, Dickey switched gears and embarked on a career as an actor and stand-up comedian. Realizing that writing was his passion, he began writing scripts and shorts stories.
After three years of sending out query letters, he finally scored a literary agent. “Then a door opened,” Dickey previously said. “And I put my foot in before they could close it.”
His debut novel, Sister, Sister, was released in 1996. Apart from making numerous best-sellers lists, Dickey has been nominated for multiple NAACP Image Awards in the category of Outstanding Literary Work. He was also awarded the Best Contemporary Fiction Author of the Year at the 2006 African American Literary Award Show, and nominated for Storyteller of the Year at the 1st annual Essence Literary Awards.
In addition to novels, Dickey authored a six-issue miniseries of comic books for Marvel Entertainment. His novel, Naughty or Nice, was also optioned by Lionsgate.
Dickey is survived by four daughters.