7 Things You Didn’t Know About Harper Lee

Hey, Scouts—er…Shmoopers,

By now you’ve heard that a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, called Go Set a Watchman, will be hitting shelves—and Shmoop—this summer. In honor of the news, we put together a list of little-known facts about our back-in-action author.

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1. She’s still alive.

You’d be surprised how many people didn’t realize that until yesterday. Lee will be publishing her second book in July at the age of 89.

2. She’s more popular than Moses.

In 2006, members of the British Museum, Libraries and Archives Council voted To Kill A Mockingbird the number one book that every adult should read before they die. The Bible was number two (source).

3. Harper is actually her middle name.

Her first name, Nelle, is her grandmother Ellen’s name spelled backward (source). Notice how similar her signature is to Shmoop’s…just saying.

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4. She rubbed elbows with the rich and famous…in kindergarten.

When Lee was in kindergarten, she befriended an eccentric young boy named Truman Streckfus Persons. You might know him as Truman Capote—or Dill.

5. Even she had writer’s block.

At one point, Lee grew so frustrated with the writing process she opened the window of her New York apartment and hurled the entire TKAM manuscript into the snow. Clearly, she got it back.

6. She studied law.

Lucky for us, she quit—but not too early to get some good deets for the courtroom scenein To Kill a Mockingbird.

7. She wrote more than one book.

The manuscript for the TKAM sequel was rediscovered last year, and after some hesitation, Lee agreed to publish it. We hear Peter Jackson is directing the movie adaptation, so get ready for Go Set a Watchman Parts 1-3.

If that’s not enough Lee for you, here’s a boatload of Shmoopy goodness on the author and her—till now—one-hit wonder.
Anxiously awaiting July,
Team Shmoop

Quote of the Week

“…when you and Jem are grown,
maybe you’ll look back on this
with some compassion
and some feeling that I didn’t let you down.”

~ To Kill a Mockingbird

We hope Atticus’s words of wisdom are still around in the sequel.

[No mockingbirds were harmed in the making of this newsletter.]

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