Harper Lee, the 88 year old author who famously wrote the iconic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” in 1960, is publishing her SECOND novel this July.
The novel is titled “To Set a Watchman” will be a sequel to her Pulitzer Prize winning novel. It was originally written in the mid-1950’s, actually before she wrote “Mockingbird.”
“To Set a Watchman” takes place in Maycomb, AL in the ‘50s, at the height of the civil rights movement and about 20 years after Mockingbird. The story, per the publisher’s statement, revisits the characters from that earlier work:
“Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus. 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 said in a statement released by Harper, her publisher,
“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.”
The book will be released on July 14 with no revisions from the original manuscript, and Harper plans to print 2 million copies for the first run. Lee is unlikely to do any publicity for the book due to her age and health but with the magnitude of the novel she won’t really need it.