Harper Lee (1926 – 2016)

Nelle Harper Lee (born April 28, 1926, died February 19, 2016) is an American novelist, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 for her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Born in Monroeville, Alabama, she studied law at the University of Alabama, then spent a year in the United Kingdom, studying at Oxford. Living in New York City, she supported herself working as an airline reservation clerk, but was soon determined to pursue a career in writing. She left her job and put together a series of short stories about life in the South, which she first submitted for publication in 1957. Encouraged by her editor, she worked the stories into a novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, which was a critically acclaimed best-seller. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her work in 1961.

After the success of her book, Lee felt that if she wrote another it would be anticlimactic. Lee apparently retired from writing.

In the mid-60s she traveled and worked with her childhood friend Truman Capote as a research assistant for his novel, In Cold Blood. Capote dedicated the novel to her.

She makes infrequent appearances and has received a number of honors, but little else is known of what she is doing, fueling speculation (similar to that which has surrounded J.D. Salinger and formerly Ralph Ellison) that she is working on various writing projects, which may or may not be published at some future date.

Go Set a Watchman, a sequel to her masterpiece, was published in 2015 under a great deal controversy and debate, both for the content of the book and the circumstances under which it was published. She passed away within a year of its publication in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama on February 19, 2016.

Books by Harper Lee