Nearly a century after she put pen to paper, Zora Neale Hurston’s timeless works will soon be found in one place.
Amistad Books, a HarperCollins subsidiary, is releasing a collection of Hurston’s lost short stories next year. Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick features Hurston’s writings about love, migration, gender, racism, sexism and classism, and includes eight short stories that were rediscovered in “forgotten periodicals and archives,” according to a news release sent to VIBE on Thursday (Oct. 24).
The book also includes writings that will “challenge” the perception of Hurston as an “author of rural fiction,” and showcases her “biting, satiric humor.”
Despite becoming one of the most celebrated figures to come out of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston died penniless, and was initially buried in an unmarked grave. Born in Notasulga, Alabama in 1891, Hurston worked as a waitress and maid prior to attending Howard University, where she graduated with an associates degree in 1920. Her first short story, John Redding Goes to Sea, was published the following year in the school’s literary magazine.
By 1925, Hurston was enrolled at Barnard College, and as the school’s only black student, she used her writings to capture the spirit of Black life.
Hurston published numerous short stories, theatrical reviews, essays, plays and more over the course of around three decades. Towards the latter half of her life, Hurston worked as a freelance writer, but hit financial hardships and began taking whatever jobs that she could find, including working again as a maid. She died from heart disease in 1960.
Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick is due out Jan. 14, one week after what would’ve been Hurston’s 129th birthday.