Art And Culture

Harper Lee’s New Novel 55 Years After ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

Harper Lee’s New Novel 55 Years After ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’Harper Lee’s New Novel 55 Years After ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

More than five decades after Harper Lee published her first — and, so far, only — novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, Lee’s publisher has announced that she plans to release a new one. The book, currently titled ‘Go Set a Watchman’, will be published in July.

According to AP, Lee actually finished the 304-page novel in the mid-1950s — before Mockingbird was published in 1960 — but she decided to shelve the work at the time. Lee says she was surprised to stumble upon Watchman again last fall, after her friend and attorney Tonja Carter unearthed an old manuscript that had been attached to an original typescript of Mockingbird.

“After much thought and hesitation,” Lee says in a statement, “I shared (the manuscript) with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”

The new book will be intricately tied to Lee’s first. Scout, the little girl at the heart of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, returns home two decades later as an adult in ‘Go Set a Watchman’. She has left New York City in order to visit her father, Atticus.

  Grappling With Issues

According to the publisher’s announcement, “she is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.”

The announcement comes as something of a reversal for the author, who has said little to the press and published even less since the release of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. That book won the Pulitzer Prize, inspired a beloved film adaptation and continues to earn accolades from, well, just about everyone. It has also sold more than 40 million copies.

Born in 1926, Nelle Harper Lee is an American novelist. Her first novel  deals with the issues of racism that she observed as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Despite being Lee’s only published book for half a century, it led to her being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. Lee has received numerous honorary degrees but has always declined to make a speech.