"To Kill A Mockingbird" is a groundbreaking novel written by Harper Lee and published in America in 1960. The novel was one of the first of it's kind to deal with the subjects of racial inequality and rape and is still widely read … [Read more...] about To Kill a Mockingbird
Nelle Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama in April of 1926. The youngest of four children, Lee was the daughter of a lawyer and a homemaker and a lover of English literature and sometime law student.
Though she had only one book published, "To Kill A Mockingbird" became a smashing success immediately, winning the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and selling more than 30 million copies in Lee's lifetime.
Lee has admitted that much of Mockingbird's plotting elements were based off of her childhood in Alabama and a case her father took defending two young black men accused of rape in 1931. Other elements from Lee's life include, the character of Boo Radley, who was based off of a real reclusive man that lived on her street and Dill, the childhood friend of Scout who was based off of Lee's real-life neighbor and childhood friend, author Truman Capote.
In her lifetime, Lee faced great acclaim but also some criticism. "Mockingbird" has become a classic social commentary novel that is often read in schools to this day. Many school districts have challenged the usage of the book in their curriculum, citing it's usage of strong language and racial slurs. Lee, herself often wrote letters to schools that had recently banned "Mockingbird", defending it's relevancy and attempting to reinstate it in the libraries.
In 1962, Mockingbird was made into an Academy Award winning movie starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. Lee became good friends with Peck and remained friends with his family after his death.
In 2015, Lee published a second book, "Go Set A Watchman". Originally it was thought that this book, which had been found in by Lee's lawyer in a safety deposit box, was intended to be the first novel in a series containing "Mockingbird" and a short novel set in between the two. But more recently, some critics have discovered that this is untrue and that Watchman may actually have merely been a first draft of Mockingbird. Passages in the former which are completely recreated in the latter support this theory.
In February 2016, Lee died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 89.