Grand Central Publishing has acquired the rights to the late Oscar Hijuelos’ book, Twain And Stanley Enter Paradise, an epic, 800-plus-page historical novel chronicling the friendship of Mark Twain and Welsh explorer Henry Morton Stanley. The publisher has announced the anticipated release date as fall 2015.

Hijuelos gained international acclaim when his second novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs Of Love, won the Pulitzer for literature in 1990, making him the first writer of Latin descent to win the award. (Though the author was born in Manhattan, his parents were Cuban immigrants, and he often wrote of the immigrant experience.)


Hijuelos published a memoir in 2011, but the final work of fiction published in his lifetime was Beautiful Maria Of My Soul—if not a true sequel, then a companion novel to The Mambo Kings. He’d been working on Twain And Stanley for a dozen years, and had reportedly just finished the manuscript a few days before his fatal heart attack last year. According to Hijuelos’ wife, he also had another book in the works, though there’s been no word as to whether that one was far enough along to be published.