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scumonkey
February 19th, 2016, 12:45 PM
Harper Lee, Author
of ‘To Kill a
Mockingbird,’ Dies at 89 Ms. Lee’s novel about racial injustice in a small
Alabama town became one of the most beloved and
most taught works of fiction ever written by an American.
By WILLIAM GRIMES (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/william_grimes/index.html)FEB. 19, 2016

Harper Lee, whose first novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” about racial injustice in a small Alabama town, sold more than 10 million copies and became one of the most beloved and most taught works of fiction ever written by an American, died on Friday in Monroeville, Ala., where she lived. She was 89.

Hank Conner, a nephew of Ms. Lee’s, said that she died in her sleep at the Meadows, an assisted living facility.

The instant success of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the next year, turned Ms. Lee into a literary celebrity, a role she found oppressive and never learned to accept.

“I never expected any sort of success with ‘Mockingbird,’ ” Ms. Lee told a radio interviewer in 1964. “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.”

The enormous success of the film version of the novel, released in 1962 with Gregory Peck in the starring role of Atticus Finch, a small-town Southern lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, only added to Ms. Lee’s fame and fanned expectations for her next novel.
http://static01.nyt.com/images/2016/02/20/arts/20harperlee2_hp/20harperlee2_hp-articleLarge.jpg

Harper Lee, at a luncheon in Hoover, Ala., in 2002. Credit The Birmingham News, via Associated Press




Ms. Lee gained a reputation as a literary Garbo, a recluse whose public appearances to accept an award or an honorary degree counted as important news simply because of their rarity. On such occasions she did not speak, other than to say a brief thank you.

For more than half a century, a second novel failed to turn up. Then, in 2015, long after the reading public had given up on seeing anything more from Ms. Lee, a sequel appeared under mysterious circumstances.

In February 2015, her publisher, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins, dropped a bombshell. It announced plans to publish a manuscript, long thought to be lost, that Ms. Lee submitted to her editors in 1957 under the title “Go Set a Watchman.”

Ms. Lee’s lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, had chanced upon it, attached to an original typescript of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” while looking through Ms. Lee’s papers, the publishers explained. It told the story of Atticus and his daughter, Jean Louise Finch, known as Scout, 20 years later, when Scout is a young woman living in New York, and included several scenes in which Atticus expresses conservative views on race relations seemingly at odds with his liberal stance in the earlier novel.

The book was published in July with an initial printing of 2 million and, with enormous advance sales, immediately leapt to the top of the fiction best-seller lists, despite tepid reviews.

to read full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/20/arts/harper-lee-dies.html