Harper Lee to Publish Second Novel this Summer

Harper Lee is to publish her second book this summer – 55 years after the release ofTo Kill A Mockingbird.

Go Set A Watchman was apparently completed in the 1950s and put aside until it was rediscovered late last year.

It is essentially a sequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill A Mockingbird, although it was finished earlier.

The 304-page book will be Lee’s second and is due to be released on 14 July.

Publisher HarperCollins said it plans a first printing of two million copies.

“In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set A Watchman,'” the 88-year-old Lee said in a statement.

“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 (which 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 realised 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.”

The new book is set in Lee’s famed Maycomb, Alabama, during the mid-1950s, 20 years after To Kill A Mockingbird and roughly contemporaneous with the time that Lee was writing the story.

The civil rights movement was taking hold by the time she was working on Watchman.

The Supreme Court had ruled unanimously in 1953 that segregated schools were unconstitutional, and the arrest of Rosa Parks in 1955 led to the year-long Montgomery bus boycott.

According to the publisher, the book will be released as Lee first wrote it, with no revisions.

Lee’s publisher said the author is unlikely to do any publicity for the book.

She has rarely spoken to the media since the 1960s, when she told one reporter that she wanted “to leave some record of small-town, middle-class Southern life”.

To Kill A Mockingbird is among the most beloved novels in history, with worldwide sales topping 40 million copies.

It was released on 11 July, 1960, won the Pulitzer Prize and was adapted into a 1962 movie of the same name, starring Gregory Peck in an Oscar-winning performance as the courageous lawyer Atticus Finch.

It is still a widely studied text in schools across the UK.

 

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