Harper Lee to Publish First Novel in Over 50 Years

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Harper Lee, the 88-year-old author, is bringing out a sequel to her first and only novel, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, 55 years on. The book, entitled ‘Go Set A Watchman’, was written before ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, which was published in 1960 and won a Pulitzer Prize.
The 304-page manuscript was rediscovered last year, Lee, 88, said in a statement from her publisher, Harper.

"In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called 'Go Set a Watchman,' " she said. "It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman, and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout's childhood, persuaded me to write a novel (what became 'To Kill a Mockingbird') from the point of view of the young Scout.

"I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn't realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years."

Lee's new novel is set in the mid-1950s, 20 years after the events of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. In the book, the character of Scout has returned to Maycomb, Alabama, from New York to visit her father, Atticus.

 According to the publisher's announcement, "She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father's attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood."

Lee’s first book, which has been taught at schools around the world, was released when she was just 34-years-old in 1960 and was adapted as an Oscar-winning film. It has sold more than 30 million copies in 18 languages and still sells about 750,000 copies a year in the U.S. and Canada.

'Go Set a Watchman,' will be released July 14.

-Devashree Goenka