Quietus: Harper Lee

Emma Connolly

Emma Connolly

Emma lives in England. Ace the dog keeps her feet and heart warm while she writes about music and culture.
Emma Connolly

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Harper Lee, the reclusive author of To Kill a Mockingbird, has died at the age of 89.

Born Nelle Harper Lee on 28 April 1926, she published To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960. The coming-of-age story set in the racially charged atmosphere of 1930s Alabama won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. In 1962 the book was adapted and filmed with Gregory Peck taking the lead role of Atticus Finch. The film enjoyed great commercial and critical success and won three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Peck.

Still from To Kill a Mockingbird 1962 film

Still from the trailer for ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ | Universal Pictures

In 2015 Harper Lee’s second novel – featuring some of the same characters as those in Mockingbird – was published. Written in the 1950s, Go Set a Watchman was met with a degree of controversy regarding the differences between characters as they appeared the two books, as well as uncertainty over the degree of control Lee had exercised in the decision to publish.

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird