I’m sure most of you reading this post have either read or seen the movie based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller To Kill a Mockingbird. What a phenomenal novel by an amazing writer. Just in the off chance that you’re unfamiliar with this literary classic, I’ve included the below video which provides an excellent overview of the story.
After reading the book I found myself curious about the author, Harper Lee, so I looked her up on Google to learn a little more about her background. I had no idea she and Truman Capote were friends growing up. Sadly, both authors had rather difficult home lives and Lee, a fierce tomboy, protected Capote from kids who called him a sissy and picked on him for wearing fancy clothes.
For some reason To Kill a Mockingbird was Lee’s one and only novel. Much like the main characters in her book, Lee’s father was an attorney and a member of the Alabama State Legislature. He also owned part of a local newspaper. Apparently, Lee’s mother suffered from mental illness (she was believed to be bipolar), and she consequently never left the house.
Lee became interested in English literature in high school and later went on to attend college at the all-girl’s school, Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Somewhere during her time at Huntingdon, she transferred to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. In her junior year, Lee was accepted to the university’s law program, but after spending a semester as an exchange student at Oxford University in England, she dropped out of school to concentrate on her writing.
In 1959 Lee completed the manuscript for To Kill A Mockingbird, which was originally titled Go Set a Watchman, then Atticus before being changed to To Kill a Mockingbird. The book was published in July 1960. Harper Lee lives a quiet life outside the public’s eye in New York City and Monroeville Alabama. She continues to be active in her church and community and avoids anything to do with her still-popular novel.