Harper Lee Shows You’re Never Too Old for a Comeback
88-year-old author Harper Lee has only published one book, but her debut novel quickly became a modern classic, landing on high school required reading lists across America. It was, of course, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning book that reflected racial injustice and Southern life in America.
Since its initial publication in 1960, “To Kill a Mockingbird” has never gone out of print. And though she’s been reclusive since the mid-sixties, Harper Lee and her publisher, Harper, have just announced she will publish her second novel this summer.
It’s called “Go Set a Watchman,” and it’s actually the story Lee wrote before “To Kill a Mockingbird” came to be. When Lee presented the story, about a woman nicknamed Scout who returns home to visit her father, Atticus, her editor asked her to rewrite it from the point of view of Scout as a child. So she did, and it became “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Lee thought the initial book was lost. When her friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it, she shared it with a handful of people who encouraged her to publish. Lee said in a press release, “I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”
Harper publisher Jonathan Burnham added that “Go Set a Watchmen” reads like a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” conveying “a father and daughter’s relationship and the life of a small Alabama town through the racial tensions of the 1950s.”
Harper plans to publish two million copies of Lee’s second novel, and it seems likely we’ll have another American classic on our hands. We hope, after all these years, Lee might agree to another interview or two so we can continue to call her a Comeback Queen.