Person of the Day

Mourning Harper Lee, who wrote our beloved classic ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

harper lee to kill a mockingbird

Thank you, Harper Lee. (little black bear/Flickr)

Harper Lee, author of the much-loved novel To Kill a Mockingbird, died this morning.

Remember that book--the one about racial injustice in Alabama where Atticus Finch, the father of Jem and Scout, defends a black man on trial for rape? And it’s powerful and amazing and you probably cried? Well, if not, go read it because it’s unbelievable.

Or watch the movie version, starring Gregory Peck.

When Lee first wrote the novel, she said in an interview,

“I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers, but, at the same time I sort of hoped someone would like it well enough to give me encouragement.”

Well, let’s just say she got all the encouragement she needed. The novel was an immediate best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize, and is now one of the most taught books ever by an American author.

She actually wrote a related work, which is both a first draft of and a sequel to Mockingbird, called Go Set a Watchman, that mysteriously surfaced and soared in sales last spring. Otherwise, Lee never published anything else.

Even with the wild success, Lee has maintained a low profile and has been rarely spotted in recent years. Though that may be true, the few who got to experience her wit and candor remember her with adoring admiration.

Her literary agent said,

“When I saw her just six weeks ago, she was full of life, her mind and mischievous wit as sharp as ever. She was quoting Thomas More and setting me straight on Tudor history. We have lost a great writer, a great friend and a beacon of integrity.”

Harper Lee was also known for being a close friend of another great American writer, Truman Capote. Catherine Keener played her against Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote.

The world now mourns one of our greatest writers.

"Atticus, he was real nice.""Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."When Harper Lee sat down to write To...

Posted by President Obama on Friday, February 19, 2016

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Mourning Harper Lee, who wrote our beloved classic ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

Samantha Rhodes

Samantha is a senior at Georgetown studying English and studio art. She has written for USA TODAY College, The Hoya, DC Life Magazine, and Smithsonian, among others, and is the current co-editor-in-chief of Georgetown campus publication Venture Capitol, which covers entrepreneurship and startups in DC. When not reporting or shooting with her Nikon, she's surrounded by books on Greek mythology and neuroscience or listening to tech podcasts on her way to Bikram yoga.

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