One of the biggest bestsellers of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) is the first and only novel by a young woman named Nelle Harper Lee, who once said that she wanted to be South Alabama’s Jane Austen. Lee won the Pulitzer Prize and became a mystery when she stopped speaking to press in 1964.
More than 50 years after its publication, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide, still sells nearly one million copies each year and is required reading in most American classrooms, making it quite possibly the most influential American novel of the 20th century. The 1962 film version, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, won a trio of Academy Awards.
Harper Lee: Hey, Boo chronicles how this beloved novel came to be written, provides the context and history of the Deep South where it is set, and documents the many ways the novel has changed minds and shaped history. For teachers, students or fans of the classic, Hey, Boo enhances the experience of reading To Kill a Mockingbird.
Containing never-before-seen photos and letters, Hey, Boo features insightful interviews with friends and an exclusive interview with Lee’s sister, Alice Finch Lee (age 99 at filming), who share intimate recollections, anecdotes and biographical details for the first time, offering new insight into the life and mind of Harper Lee, including why she never published again. Oprah Winfrey; Tom Brokaw; Pulitzer Prize-winners Rick Bragg, Anna Quindlen, Richard Russo, Jon Meacham, and Diane McWhorter; and civil rights leader Andrew Young address the novel’s power, influence, and popularity, and the many ways it has shaped their lives.
Interviewees (in alphabetical order):
Mary Badham – actress, played Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Boaty Boatwright – casting director, To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Rick Bragg – author
Tom Brokaw – news anchor, journalist and author
Joy Brown – Lee’s friend
Michael Brown – Lee’s friend
Reverend Thomas Lane Butts – Pastor Emeritus of Lee’s church
Rosanne Cash – musician and author
Mark Childress – author
Jane Ellen Clark – former director, The Monroe County Heritage Museum
Allan Gurganus – author
David Kipen – former director of literature, National Endowment for the Arts
Wally Lamb – author
Alice Finch Lee – Lee’s sister
James McBride – author and musician
Diane McWhorter – historian
Jon Meacham – historian
James Patterson – author
Anna Quindlen – author
Richard Russo – author
Lizzie Skurnick – author
Lee Smith – author
Adriana Trigiani – author
Mary Tucker – educator and Monroeville, Alabama resident
Scott Turow – author
Oprah Winfrey – TV and film producer, founder of O, The Oprah magazine, radio programmer, actress, philanthropist, and chairman of Harpo Inc.
Andrew Young – civil rights leader
Harper Lee: Hey, Boo is a production of Mary Murphy & Company, LLC. Mary McDonagh Murphy is producer, writer and director. Rich White is director of photography. Christopher Seward is editor and producer. Susan Lacy is the series creator and executive producer of American Masters.
American Masters is made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding for American Masters is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Jack Rudin, Vital Projects Fund, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers.