Zora Neale Hurston to Posthumously Publish New Novel, Inspired by Biblical Figure Herod the Great (Exclusive)

‘The Life of Herod the Great’ is an unfinished manuscript from the author, who died in 1960

<p>Courtesy of Barbara Hurston Lewis, Faye Hurston, and Lois Gaston; Akindele John/Stephen Brayda/HarperCollins</p> Zora Neale Hurston and the cover of

Courtesy of Barbara Hurston Lewis, Faye Hurston, and Lois Gaston; Akindele John/Stephen Brayda/HarperCollins

Zora Neale Hurston and the cover of 'The Life of Herod the Great'

Beloved Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston has a new novel, set to hit shelves in 2025.

PEOPLE can exclusively reveal the cover of Hurston’s posthumous novel, The Life of Herod the Great, publishing next year from Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Hurston, a prominent figure within the Harlem Renaissance whose work centered Black life in the South, is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. In the 1950s, after the 1939 publication of her novel Moses, Man of the Mountain, Hurston wrote The Life of Herod the Great as a continuation, which reconsiders the life of the Biblical figure of the same name.

<p>Akindele John/Stephen Brayda/HarperCollins</p> 'The Life of Herod the Great' by Zora Neale Hurston

Akindele John/Stephen Brayda/HarperCollins

'The Life of Herod the Great' by Zora Neale Hurston

Compared to figures like Marc Antony and Julius Caesar, Herod lived on the cusp of a new era. The period was plagued with war, imperial expansion and political assassination. In Hurston’s novel, she reimagines Herod not for his "villainous" portrayal in the New Testament, but as an adventurous “forerunner of Christ,” per the book’s description.

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Hurston places Herod within a new context for today's readers in The Life of Herod the Great. The new novel will also include Hurston's letters to friends and an endnote, entitled  “Commentary: A Story Finally Told,” by scholar Deborah Plant, "underscoring Hurston’s point about how reimagining figures from the past can address the troubles we experience today," according to the publisher.

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<p>Corbis/Getty</p> Zora Neale Hurston


Zora Neale Hurston

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In addition to her novels, Hurston was a prominent writer of poetry, plays and essays, many of which have been published after her death. Hurston was also a documentary filmmaker and anthropologist, and conducted studies on African American folklore in the South. She died on Jan. 28, 1960 at 69 years old.

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The Life of Herod the Great
will be published on Hurston's birthday, Jan. 7, 2025. It is now available for preorder, wherever books are sold.

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