Paul Moran, who runs “The Other John Updike Archive,” recently posted an entry on “Wiki Leaks 2029: Why The Secrecy?”
He writes, “Literary conspiracy theory: the Updike book on the origins of Christianity being held up for 20 years? The 1,635 books in the Updike archive are already available to scholars. Manuscripts will be ready as early as August, and correspondence will be open to researchers by the end of the year. The novel on which he was working at the time of his death, which involved St. Paul and early Christianity, will not be available until 2029.”
Rather than fuel the speculation we asked Houghton Library’s Leslie Morris. “It is true that the novel he was working on at his death is sealed until 2029 (20 years after his death),” she writes. “This restriction was suggested by the Estate as part of the purchase agreement, and the Library agreed to it. It will be open for research in 2029, but I’m not privy to whether or not there are publication plans for it—that’s a question for the Literary Trust, who administers the copyrights.”
According to Andrew Wylie, who represents the Literary Trust, “It is not another novel at all. It was the merest idea. And as for the twenty year embargo, it is simply the Updike Estate’s established policy.”
So there you have it.