Harper Lee was an American novelist most famous for her 1960 book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, it became a modern classic.
Lee spoke in a 1964 interview saying that she didn’t expect any success from her book. She did not think it would reach this level of popularity or awareness.
To Kill a Mocking Bird is set in a racist 1930’s Alabama town where a black man (Tom Robinson) is accused of raping a white woman. With the help of his lawyer Atticus Finch, he hopes to be proven innocent. Finch’s two children, Jean Louise and Jem, are also major characters in the story. Jean Louise famously goes by the nickname, Scout.
Left: 1960 novel Right: 1962 film adaptation
In 1962, To Kill a Mockingbird was adapted for the silver screen starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch; father of Jem and Scout and lawyer of Tom Robinson. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. It went on to win three, including Gregory Peck for Best Actor.
This story has sold over 40 million copies and is often read and examined by high school classes across the country.
Lee was known as a mostly reclusive person. In 2015, she released a novel called Go Set a Watchman. Because she was known as a sort of recluse and hadn’t released any new material, this was a special and sought after novel.
Lee died in her sleep on Feb. 19 in Monroeville, Ala. Lee was also born in Monroeville on April 28 1926.