Following the release of her 1960 debut novel, Harper Lee was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The immediate success of To Kill a Mockingbird ensured that Harper Lee is now one of the most influential writers of the late 20th century, known for her bravery in writing a story that presents so prominently the racial tensions in the southern states of the USA.
It was announced yesterday that alongside this alleged one hit wonder of literature would be a sequel, an unbelievable fifty-five years after the release of the first. Go Set a Watchman is set twenty years after the events of To Kill a Mockingbird, featuring also the beloved characters of Scout and Atticus Finch. In this novel, the grown up Scout returns to her hometown of Maycomb, Alabama to visit her father.
Completed in the mid-1950s, before Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, the manuscript of the now sequel was rejected by publicists. Therefore it’s not technically a sequel, but Harper Lee’s true debut – just an unpublished one. It was discovered in the autumn of 2014 by Lee’s friend and lawyer, Tonja Carter, after Lee thought it to be lost. It will apparently remain without revisions upon its release.
Go Set a Watchman is set for release on the 14 July this year. I for one am astonished that this otherwise unexpected news will become reality so soon.
Words by Caitlin O’Connor