Richard Zimler’s inspiration for The Lost Gospel of Lazarus came to him in a troubling, reoccurring dream.
In this dream, his brother who’d recently died from AIDS returned to him. It made Richard think that there’d been some mistake – that he hadn’t really died. Except, Richard soon found his brother deeply changed. He’d lost a range of emotions and only truly felt despair. Though he was living once more, he was not the person he was. The dream ends when Richard’s brother leaves, and Richard finds himself unable to follow him.
Thus, Richard began to think about figures from stories and history who had undergone a resurrection. This led him to re-read The New Testament and think about the Raising of Lazarus. Richard’s interests expanded into the daily life of ancient Jerusalem and the Jewish roots of biblical characters. From all that came The Lost Gospel of Lazarus – the dream was just the beginning.
Back in April, Barbican Press partnered with Paper-Works Books & Print to host an online event to launch Richard Zimler’s The Lost Gospel of Lazarus.
Here’s the full recording – Richard is interviewed by George Biggs about the book’s inspiration, his writing and research process and much more. It’s a non-spoiler deep dive into the most famous story in the world. Sit back and learn how to make historical fiction vital.
How do you take perhaps the best-known story of all time, the crucifixion of Jesus, and make it thrillingly new? Lazarus, in the wake of being brought back from the dead, offers us live, inside commentary as the authorities hunt down the new ‘messiah’.
Richard Zimler, a gay Jewish American writer long resident in Portugal, applies keen scholarship to unearth telling details.
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