Nelle Harper Lee (born April 28, 1926) is an American novelist widely known for her 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird which deals with the racism she observed as a child in her hometown of Monroeville,Alabama during the depression. It was published at the height of the civil rights struggle. Though Lee only published this single book for half a century, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. Lee has received numerous honorary degrees, and declined to speak on each occasion. The book was also adapted into an Oscar winning film starring Gregory Peck.
|One morning late last summer, Tonja B. Carter was doing some legal work for this prized client when she found herself thumbing through an old manuscript of what she assumed was “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The characters were familiar, as they would be to millions of readers — the crusading lawyer, Atticus Finch, and his feisty daughter, Scout. But the passages were different. Atticus was much older. Scout was grown up. The story unfolded in Alabama during the racial turmoil of the 1950s, not the Depression of the 1930s.|
|Confused, Ms. Carter scanned the text, trying to figure out what she was holding. It was a novel titled “Go Set a Watchman.” It may be one of the most monumental discoveries in contemporary American literature.|
|“I was so stunned. At the time I didn’t know if it was finished,” Ms. Carter recalled in an interview on Saturday, her first extensive comments about the discovery. She went to see Ms. Lee and asked her if the novel was complete. “She said, ‘Complete? I guess so. It was the parent of “Mockingbird.” ’ ”|
|The recovered manuscript has ignited fierce debate — much of it speculative — about why Ms. Lee waited so long to publish again, whether the book will stand up to her beloved first novel, and whether the author, who has long shied away from public attention, might have been pressured or manipulated into publishing it.|
|Residents of Monroeville gossip that Ms. Lee is mentally infirm these days, doesn’t recognize old friends, couldn’t possibly have signed off on the publication, never wanted to do a second book. But those who are closest to her scoff at such conspiratorial theories, saying Harper Lee, now 88 and admittedly frail, remains fully capable of making up her own mind.Her comment?:Mockingbirds don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”|
Descendent from Robert E. Lee, the Southern-