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Harper Lee and New Novel: Interview with Filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy


Mary McDonagh Murphy is the author of Scout, Atticus and Boo and the director of Harper Lee: American Masters, an updated version of her Emmy®-winning 2012 documentary Harper Lee: Hey, Boo. In an interview airing on MetroFocus on July 9, 2015, she speaks about her films and what she knows about the new Harper Lee novel Go Set a Watchman, to be released July 14, 2015, nearly 60 years to the day after the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Murphy says, “Harper Lee herself has called this the parent of To Kill a Mockingbird, so we know that it was her first go at a full novel. The other things we know are that it involves a grown-up Scout, which I’m sure will thrill readers to no end. But Scout is an adult. She’s living in New York City. She’s going home to Alabama for an annual trek to see her family. Her father is about 72, and then that’s about all we know so far. Then we’ll find out what happens on that sort of ten-day, two-week visit.”

Harper Lee: American Masters airs Friday, July 10 at 9 pm on PBS (check local listings). Mary McDonagh Murphy will live tweet during the broadcast. Follow #HarperLeePBS to be part of the conversation.

Extended Interview

More history and insights from Harper Lee: American Masters director Mary McDonagh Murphy in this extended, web-exclusive 20-minute interview.


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