Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee will finally publish a second book, 55 years after Scout led Boo Radley home in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” her publisher announced Tuesday.
Publishing company Harper plans a first printing of two million copies of the recently rediscovered “Go Set a Watchman,” a novel the 88-year-old Lee finished in the 1950s. The book appears to be a sequel to “Mockingbird,” a mainstay in high school English classes.
“In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called ‘Go Set a Watchman,'” Lee said in a statement provided by 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.”
Carter helped broker the deal with HarperCollins Publishers, Harper’s parent company, after she found the manuscript at a “secure location where it had been affixed to an original typescript of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’,” the publisher said.
Set 20 years after “Mockingbird,” the new book follows Scout as an adult woman in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1950s.
“Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus,” the publisher said. “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.”
“Mockingbird,” the 1960 bildungsroman classic, has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and inspired the 1962 Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck as attorney Atticus Finch.
Despite the massive popularity of her debut book, Lee has shied away from the limelight. She still lives in Monroeville, Alabama, the model town for the fictional Maycomb in “Mockingbird.”
The 304-page “Watchman” is scheduled for release on July 14. Lee’s publisher said she was unlikely to do a publicity tour for the novel.
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