Author of the Month

June 2021 – Harper Lee

This post features the incredible Harper Lee 🎇. She may have only authored two books but her writing has left such a significant mark that her first book, To Kill A Mockingbird, is a classic that MUST be read…or it can be watched as well because a movie was made in 1962.

Early Life

Nelle Harper Lee died at the age of 89 about two months before she would have turned 90. She was born on the 28th of April 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama. It was during her years at Monroe County High School that Lee developed a curiosity for English literature (Wikpedia). After graduating high school, Harper Lee followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Alice Finch Lee, to attend Huntingdon College in Montgomery. She was there for a year before transferring to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to study law (Wikipedia).

Photograph by Donald Uhrbrock / The LIFE Images Collection / Getty

Fun Facts:

🔸 Lee’s first name, Nelle, is her grandmother’s name spelt backwards!

🔸 She used the pen name “Harper Lee”, to avoid people mispronouncing her first name as “Nellie”.

🔸 Her childhood friend was Truman Capote. She helped him to interview the residents of Kansas for his highly acclaimed book, “In Cold Blood”. Lee also shaped the neighborhood boy Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird on Capote.

Photograph by Donald Uhrbrock / The LIFE Images Collection / Getty

Later Years and Success

Harper Lee is best known for writing “To Kill A Mockingbird”, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961 for best fiction.

Lee was honored with the Presidential Medal Of Freedom in 2007 by George W. Bush. As explained by Wikipedia, this award is the highest to be received by a civilian and acknowledges individuals who have made a commendable addition to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

In 2010, Lee received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. This is the most prestigious award given by the government of the United States for “outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts”(Wikipedia).

Go Set a Watchman is in fact the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird.

Harper Lee, 2001.
Terrence Antonio James—Tribune Content Agency LLCAlamy

Another Fun Fact:

🔸 Harper Lee published her second novel when she was 89 years old!

HarperCollins published her rediscovered manuscript Go Set a Watchman as something of a sequel to Mockingbird

Harper Lee, 2001.
Image by: Terrence Antonio James—Tribune Content Agency LLCAlamy

Image: Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group
Image: Hannah McKay/AP Images

Final Fun Fact:

When Lee was asked why she never wrote again, she replied:

“Two reasons: one, I wouldn’t go through the pressure and publicity I went through with To Kill a Mockingbird for any amount of money. Second, I have said what I wanted to say, and I will not say it again.”


Works Cited List

Chandler, Kim.’Mockingbird’ author Harper Lee buried in Alabama hometown. Digital Image. Associated Press, WRBCtv, 20 February 2016. 30 May 2021 Accessed.
“Harper Lee”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 30 My 2021.
Cep, Casey. “Postscript: Harper Lee, 1926-2016”. Digital Image. The New Yorker. 20 February 2016. 31 May 2021 Accessed.
“Go Set a Watchman”. gosetawatchmanbook . Digital Image. Go Set a Watchman. 28 September 2015. 31 May 2021 Accessed.
Foca, Anna and Fine, Laura. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 30 Jul. 2020, Accessed 31 May 2021.
Fine, Laura. “Harper Lee”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 24 Apr. 2021, Accessed 31 May 2021.
Fine, Laura. “Harper Lee”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 24 Apr. 2021, Accessed 31 May 2021.

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