New Edition: Sylvia Wynter’s The Hills of Hebron

Ian Randle Publishers has released a new edition of Sylvia Wynter’s only novel, The Hills of Hebron. Here is a description of the novel:

When Sister Rose, the beautiful young wife of Obidiah, the leader of the Church of New Believers, becomes pregnant, the hillside community of Hebron is thrown into a whirlwind of suspicion, disbelief and doubt. For Obidiah had taken a vow of chastity, not to lay [sic] with Rose for one year and one month. Obidiah protests his innocence to the congregation but the revelation of the pregnancy is the climax of the continuing power struggle between Obidiah and the jealous and ambitious Miss Gatha, Rose s adoptive mother. Unrelenting and scathing in her attacks on Obidiah, Miss Gatha seeks to secure the succession of her son, the clubfooted Isaac, to his rightful place as leader of the new Believers, a position held by his father, the Prophet Moses who had led the New Believers into exile to build their Utopian community, the promised land in Hebron.

Written in the late 1950s on the cusp of Jamaica’s independence from Britain, The Hills of Hebron tells the story of a group of formerly enslaved Jamaicans as they attempt to create a new life and assert themselves against the colonial power. Strongly anti-colonial, the novel depicts Hebron as a Revivalist community embracing Afro-Caribbean religious practices and gives voice to the social forces of that period in Jamaican and Caribbean history. Based on the early twentieth century Bedwardism movement (a revivalist group led by Alexander Bedward), The Hills of Hebron, was one of the first attempts to present the lives of black Jamaicans not as colonial subjects, but as independent human beings.

Sylvia Wynter was born in Cuba of Jamaican parents and grew up in Jamaica. She studied in Britain and Spain and, in 1962, returned to Jamaica and joined the faculty of the University of the West Indies. One of the founders of the Jamaica Journal, Wynter wrote major essays on Jamaican culture, history and literature, as well as several plays. She has also taught at the University of Califorina, San Diego and Stanford University. She retired in 1994 and continues to reside in Northern California.

For more information, see

3 thoughts on “New Edition: Sylvia Wynter’s The Hills of Hebron

  1. In general, this is a well written synopsis. However, I must point out that the correct verb is “to lie”. “…Obidiah had taken a vow….not to lie with…”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s