Author Eric Jerome Dickey died Sunday in Los Angeles due to complications from a long illness, a representative from his publisher Penguin Random House confirmed to Variety. He was 59.
During his multi-decade career, the New York Times best-selling author wrote 29 novels that explored contemporary Black American life from different angles. Some of his best-known books include “Milk in My Coffee,” “Cheaters,” “Chasing Destiny,” “Liar’s Game” and “Sister, Sister.”
In 1998, he also developed a screenplay titled “Cappuccino,” which was performed in coffeehouses in the Los Angeles area. The short film, directed by Craig Ross Jr., made its local debut during the Pan-African Film Festival at the Magic Johnson Theater in L.A. His other movie credit includes “Friends & Lovers,” a 2005 comedy starring Monica Calhoun and Mel Jackson.
Born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., Dickey graduated from Memphis State University with a degree in computer system technology. In 1983, he moved to L.A. to work in the aerospace industry as a software developer at Rockwell International, before pursuing a career in acting and stand-up comedy.
Dickey penned several comedy scripts for his performances and later began writing short stories. His early works, including his first short story “Thirteen” (1994), were picked up by various publications like IBWA’s River Crossing, Voices of the Diaspora and A Place to Enter.
His first book “Sister, Sister” (1996), which celebrates Black sisterhood, immediately became a best-seller. Dickey was also honored by Yvette Hayward’s African American Literary Awards Show with the 2007 fiction and author of the year award for “Sleeping with Strangers;” the 2009 fiction of the year award for “Dying for Revenge;” the 2013 author of the year award for “Blackbirds;” and was the 2017 author of the year for “Finding Gideon.”
He also wrote the graphic novel “Storm,” which reimagines the first meeting between the “X-Men” character Storm and Black Panther.
Dickey is survived by his four daughters.