Featured Writer of the Month

Omar Tyree, Novelist

"Reading is meditation."

Rappers may have the ears of urban youth, but Omar Tyree has their eyes on his words. And he has his eyes on transforming their minds. “Reading is meditation,” Tyree declared. “It’s thinking. Reading creates words, thoughts, feelings, emotions. That’s heavy stuff. It’s science out of this world!”

Tyree is a prolific novelist who has produced seven books in as many years. Tyree’s books deal with black urban life, love, and family. His most popular novel is Flyy Girl , originally a self-published title, and his newest is Just Say No! which introduces readers to Loverboy, an R & B singer. The success of his self-marketing led to his books being picked up by major publisher, Simon & Schuster. Yet as enthusiastic and accomplished as he is now, Tyree wasn’t always a champion of the written word. “I was a movie watcher,” he said of his preferred form of entertainment as a youth. The only things he read were comic books. “Books were like kryptonite.” His attitude changed when he got to Howard University in Washington, DC. “I got to college and found I was good at communicating. I was damn good.” He changed his major from pharmacy to English, ultimately graduating in 1991 with a degree in Print Journalism.

He wants to inspire more young men, in particular, to read. One of his goals is to launch a series of children’s books for boys. “Don’t get me wrong, I love hip hop. But rap music is teaching us how to be impatient,” he said. “When you read, you’ve got to think about what’s in front of you with no pictures and no music.” Tyree’s personal inspiration has come from pre-hip hop era black male writers such as Richard Wright, Iceberg Slim, Chester Himes, and Walter Mosley.

This Philly native who now resides in North Carolina hopes to become not only a leading influence in the African American community, but a major presence in the literary mainstream. “I’m going to be ruling literature by 2006. I hope to be international,” he said. “Crossing over - that’s just another level of elevation. It’s about respect for your work.”

You can read more about Omar Tyree’s work, including his latest book, Leslie, by clicking on www.omar tyree.com or www.blackbookscentral.com.