EXTRAORDINARY! Harper Lee, Beloved Author Of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’ Will Publish Second Novel In July; ‘Atticus’ And ‘Scout’ Are Characters, Publisher Confirms

breakingnews72The publishing world and lovers of American literature are electrified this morning with news that the Harper imprint of HarperCollins is publishing “Go Set a Watchman,” a second novel by Harper Lee.

Lee, 88, issued a statement through Harper in which she explained that she completed the book before setting out to write “To Kill a Mockingbird” decades ago.

“In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman,” Lee said. “It features the character known as Scout [from To Kill a Mockingbird] as an adult woman and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation I shared it 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.”

July 14 is the official publishing date.

Harper, the publisher, described Go Set a Watchman as set “during the mid-1950s.

“[It] features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later,” the publisher continued. “Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus. 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.”

Published by J. B. Lippincott in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird became an American classic and received the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. At the 35th Academy Awards in 1963, Gregory Peck was awarded the Best Actor Oscar for his 1962 portrayal of Lee’s “Atticus Finch.”

Lee is famously publicity-shy. Despite the extraordinary talent she displayed in To Kill a Mockingbird and the reading public’s thirst for more, she never published a second novel.

Says Jonathan Burnham, senior vice president and publisher at Harper: “This is a remarkable literary event. The existence of Go Set a Watchman was unknown until recently, and its discovery is an extraordinary gift to the many readers and fans of To Kill a Mockingbird. Reading in many ways like a sequel to Harper Lee’s classic novel, it is a compelling and ultimately moving narrative about a father and a daughter’s relationship, and the life of a small Alabama town living through the racial tensions of the 1950s.”

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2 Responses to “EXTRAORDINARY! Harper Lee, Beloved Author Of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’ Will Publish Second Novel In July; ‘Atticus’ And ‘Scout’ Are Characters, Publisher Confirms”

  1. Michael Morrison, president and publisher of HarperCollins US General Books Group and Canada, is calling Go Set a Watchman a “masterpiece.”

    “I, along with millions of others around the world, always wished that Harper Lee had written another book. And what a brilliant book this is. I love Go Set a Watchman, and know that this masterpiece will be revered for generations to come.”

    Source: http://corporate.harpercollins.com/us/press-releases/425/RECENTLY%20DISCOVERED%20NOVEL%20FROM%20HARPER%20LEE,%20AUTHOR%20OF%20TO%20KILL%20A%20MOCKINGBIRD

    So, I’d say the publisher is creating considerable buzz and great expectations, especially with the “masterpiece” assertion.

    But it IS Harper Lee, after all. And lots of people believe To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the greatest books ever written.


  2. From The Bookseller: “Trade ‘frenzy’ over second Harper Lee novel”