Invisible Life: HBO developing TV adaptation of groundbreaking gay '90s book series

E. Lynn Harris' exploration of Black male sexuality could soon be coming to the small screen.


Words: Alastair James

A series hailed as being groundbreaking for its exploration of Black male sexuality has begun development by HBO, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
The Invisible Life trilogy, written by E. Lynn Harris in the 1990s, tells the story of a young, Black and gay author who comes to terms with his own sexuality.
The first book, 1991's Invisible Life was followed by Just as I Am (1994) and This Too Shall Pass (1999).
The books were published at a time when topics such as homosexuality Aids were still deemed controversial and remained underrepresented in mainstream literature and media.
Speaking to CNN following Harris’ death in 2009, his friend and author Keith Boykin said Harris’ work encouraged the Black community to talk openly about homosexuality.

"We have a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy in the Black community. E. Lynn Harris encouraged people to ask and to tell."

After being self-published by Harries in 1991, Invisible Life became a hit in 1994, enabling the author to quit his job a computer salesman. It wasn’t until his work became successful that Harris himself was able to come out publicly.

He wrote 10 books that made the New York Times best-seller list, cementing him as one of the most successful gay authors of his era.

According to THR, the series will be written, and executive produced by Harrison David Rivers, as well as Proteus Spann and Tracey Edmonds.
It’s not the first time the books have been adapted: In 2015, a musical based on the series was reported to be the works, though the show failed to make it out of the development stage.