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Harper Lee Proves You’re Are Never Too Old To Publish A Second Great American Novel

Publisher HarperCollins announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Harper Lee, will be publishing her long awaited follow-up to her 1960 perennial novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”. The forthcoming title “Go Set A Watchman,” was actually completed sometime in the 1950s, prior to the publishing of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” however, it is the story of an adult Scout, making it essentially a sequel.

In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called ‘Go Set a Watchman’. It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman, and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel (what became ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’) from the point of view of the young Scout.

– Harper Lee via HarperCollins Publishers

The 304-page book is Lee’s first new novel in more than 50 years, and HarperCollins has set the first printing at 2 million copies for its July 14, 2015 street date.

I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.

– Harper Lee via HarperCollins Publishers

“Go Set A Watchman” takes place 20 years after the events in “To Kill A Mockingbird” in the same familiar backdrop of Maycomb, Alabama.

Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus,” the publisher’s announcement reads. “She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.

– HarperCollins Press Release

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is one of the definitive great American novels of all time with sales worldwide totaling over 40 million copies. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize when it was published in 1960, and turned into a major motion picture in 1962. Gregory Peck, in the lead role of Atticus Finch, went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal.


At 88 years old, Harper Lee provides a shining example that you are never too old to make a sequel. The book is reportedly being published just as it was first written with no revisions, so maybe this just means that your never too old to see the hardwork that you have cherished for so long finally published. As a first-time writer just wanting to get her work out there, Harper Lee accomplished a feat that few ever achieve by making an indelible mark in the literary world. This new book is certain to further extend her legacy as not only a great female writer, but a GREAT WRITER.

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