- Also Known As:
- Nelle Harper Lee
- Date of Birth:
- April 28, 1926
Harper Lee (born Nelle Harper Lee in Monroeville, Alabama on April 28, 1926) was an American novelist widely known for her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which was published in 1960. The novel earned the Pulitzer Prize and has since been recognized as a classic piece of modern American literature. The novel was inspired by the racist attitudes she observed as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. And while To Kill a Mockingbird was the only book Harper published for half a century, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. Harper was born the youngest of four children and her first name, Nelle, was her grandmother’s name spelled backwards. Nelle is the name Harper used when she was alive, as Harper Lee was just a pen name. Since the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper had granted almost no requests for interviews or public appearances and, with the exception of a few short essays, published nothing further, until 2015. She did work on a follow-up novel—The Long Goodbye—but eventually filed it away uncompleted. During the mid-1980s, she began a factual book about an Alabama serial murderer, but also put it aside when she was not satisfied. In fact, her withdrawal from public life prompted unfounded speculation that new publications were in the works. And in February 2015, Harper’s lawyer released a statement confirming the publication of a second novel, Go Set a Watchman. Written in the mid 1950s, the book was controversially published in July 2015 as a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, though it has since been confirmed to be the first draft of the latter.
Best Known For:
Harper Lee is best known for writing the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960. The novel received the Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic piece of American literature.
Harper Lee was a very private person during her life. She was childhood friends with the famed author, Truman Capote, and even helped him with research for his best-selling book, In Cold Blood. Harper passed away on February 19, 2016 at the age of 89.