Book News: Harper Lee to Release a Second Novel

WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 05: (FILE PHOTO) The 1962 film classic ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was released 50 years ago on Tuesday, January 31, 2012. The film based on the 1960 novel by Harper Lee which starred Gregory Peck in the role of Atticus Finch for which he later won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Please refer to the following profiles on Getty Images Archival for further imagery Pulitzer Prize winner and “To Kill A Mockingbird” author Harper Lee smiles before receiving the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House November 5, 2007 in Washington, DC. The Medal of Freedom is given to those who have made remarkable contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, culture, or other private or public endeavors. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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 Therefore it’s not technically a sequel, but Harper Lee’s true debut – just an unpublished one.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

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